A new road that will improve bus journey times out of Leicester city centre will open for the first time on Sunday (18 October).
The new road – Savoy Street – links Belgrave Gate with Mansfield Street, providing a quick route out of the city centre for buses leaving the Haymarket bus station and forming part of a new, improved route for pedestrians between the city’s two bus stations.
As part of the £4million scheme, which got under way last November, both Mansfield Street and Sandacre Street have been reconstructed and upgraded.
With buses, taxis, pedestrians and cyclists using the new road from Sunday, and with the current bus route along Belgrave Gate, Haymarket and Church Gate closing to all vehicles, the city council will now be able to create an attractive, and safe, traffic-free space around Leicester’s historic Clock Tower.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This new road will improve bus journey times for passengers, but it also paves the way for the regeneration of a high-profile part of the city centre that clearly needs investment.
“By re-routing buses onto Savoy Street, we will be able to remove traffic from the Clock Tower area and create a safer – and much more attractive – environment for pedestrians and cyclists.
“This investment around the Clock Tower will be a boost for local businesses, and work to transform this popular meeting spot with high quality porphyry paving is already well under way, with work on the other streets in the area due to start in the new year.
“Once they’re part of the city centre’s pedestrian zone, businesses on Haymarket and parts of Belgrave Gate and Church Gate should benefit from greater footfall and a much improved street environment – which could be a real boost for their business.”
The Savoy Street scheme is part of the North City Centre Accessibility Improvement Programme of linked transport and public realm improvement works, comprising several individual schemes. The whole programme is supported by a £8.96m allocation from the Local Growth Fund, a pot of government funding awarded to the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Limited (LLEP) for projects that benefit the local area and economy.
Kevin Harris, chair of the LLEP, said: "This project will see a marked improvement in the road infrastructure in Leicester, allowing commuters and shoppers a faster, more convenient route into the heart of our city. The scheme confers clear benefits on our local economy; I am very pleased that the LLEP was able to support it with investment via our Local Growth Fund allocation."
The new road takes its name from the art deco cinema that opened on Belgrave Gate in 1937. Later known as the ABC, the Savoy was demolished by its owners in 2007 after lying empty for years.
A giant mural, inspired by the Savoy and two other long-gone venues on Belgrave Gate – the Floral Hall and the Palace Theatre – now provides a fitting backdrop to the new road.
Leicester City Council Press release.