ProCon DMU & Waterside Walkabout

Published 22nd July 2015 by ProCon Leicestershire

ProCon members were given an insight into current and future developments along Leicester’s river banks, including at De Montfort University’s campus, on a waterside walkabout.

After gathering at DMU’s Trinity House, more than 20 ProCon members were led in two groups around the Castle area, along Bath Lane and to the University’s development of its new Fletcher Building.

One group was led by David Beale from Leicester City Council and the second by Andrew Smith (Leicester City Council director of planning, transport and economic development) and Umesh Desai (DMU’s deputy director of estates). During the walkabout, the second group was joined by Leicester’s Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby.

DMU’s plans to convert Leicester Castle’s Great Hall into a business school were explored, with the criminal court – complete with dock, witness box and jury benches – to be retained as an atmospheric debating and lecture chamber.

At St Nicholas Circle, the forthcoming removal of the Harvey Walk footbridge was explained, as was the visual and other connections being encouraged between the retail, heritage and waterside areas.

The walk continued to the Jewry Wall, where Leicester City Council has bought the listed 1960s landmark Vaughan College building.

Next was Bath Lane, where the Watkin James student accommodation development is well underway. Across the road, the Friars Mill redevelopment will soon be topped out.

With dredging and additional moorings on their way, the river is also seeing investment to make it more attractive to boaters.

Back along the river, the walkabout crossed onto DMU’s campus at the Mill Lane bridge to peek at the site of the new art and design building, which will include a waterside café open to the public.

Mill Lane is to be reinvented as a pedestrian route. As Umesh explained, DMU does not want a fence around its campus, it wants people to walk through.

Back at Trinity House, the groups were reunited for a glass of wine and more tales from the riverbank.

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