£7.5m plan for historic market revealed

A £7.5m plan to revamp Leicester’s famous outdoor market has been revealed by City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby.

Ideas for improvements include upgrades for stalls, better lighting, new paving and a shuttered perimeter that would keep the site secure at night.

All the old wooden stalls – now in poor condition – would be removed, and around 70 new stalls would be installed in their place. The new stalls would be set out in an improved layout to create better pedestrian routes through the market.

As part of the proposals, sections of the market roof on either side of the historic Corn Exchange would be removed, opening up views of the Grade II listed building and creating space for new trading opportunities.

Lockable units – featuring green roofs and solar panels – would be installed in front of the indoor food hall to attract a new generation of traders and a wider range of quality goods.

On the opposite side, the Mayor says the space could be used for temporary specialist markets or special events, while an expanded café would be relocated to a site adjacent to Dolphin Square, where it would offer its customers more outdoor seating.

Soulsby said: “We want to make sure that Leicester Market has a bright future – and that means helping it to adapt to reflect the way that people shop today.

“By reconfiguring the space to reflect current demand for traditional market stalls, we can create new opportunities for new businesses that will complement the existing offer and attract new activity, and new life, to the market area.

“There’s been a busy working market at the heart of our city for centuries, and these proposals will help ensure that that continues.

“This investment will make sure that our historic market continues to serve its loyal customers, while attracting a new generation of shoppers to a market that’s fit for the 21st century.”

The city council will be speakubg with the 55 businesses that currently operate from Leicester Market, with traders invited to find out more about the proposals at a number of drop-in sessions from today (Wednesday 7 September).

Subject to planning permission, work on the market refurbishment could get under way in spring next year and would take around 15 months to complete.

While refurbishment works are under way, the outdoor market and its traders would relocate to Green Dragon Square, where around 50 covered stalls and up to 20 lockable units would provide a temporary home for the historic market.

A formal decision on the proposed investment in Leicester Market will be made later this month.