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'Pop-up' shops plan for Old Town area in Leicester city centre


A series of "pop-up" shops are due to appear around the cathedral as part of a £1.1 million scheme to develop the Old Town area of the city.

The idea is to fill empty buildings around the Guildhall, Millstone Lane and Greyfriars with temporary businesses and restaurants.

The scheme, which is part of the city council's Connecting Leicester project, has been given £1.1 million of Heritage Lottery funding.

Leicester City Council will spend the next 12 months consulting with traders and gathering ideas for how to boost business within the district.

Then, in June 2014, the authority will help people establish "pop-up" shops – short-term businesses – in some of the disused buildings in the area.

Martin Traynor, chief executive of Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: "I think it's a worthwhile experiment and gives people with an idea the opportunity to try out a business without committing to something like a five-year lease.

"It gives people experience of running a business, making sure properties are full and creates a buzz around the area."

During the 12-month consultation process, businesses will also be asked for suggestions on how the area can be improved.

Ideas already include pedestrianisation of streets and conservation and repairs to historic and listed buildings.

The Connecting Leicester project is concentrated on the Cathedral Guildhall conservation area – a 13-acre section of the city centre – which was rated as "at risk" by English Heritage last year.

City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: "This money will help restore Leicester's pride and its historic built environment. It will compliment the projects we are working on in the area as part of Connecting Leicester and help to tell the story of Leicester.

"The Old Town contains Leicester's finest collection of Georgian and early Victorian buildings, within streets dating back more than 300 years.

"I want more people to see these impressive buildings by opening up the Old Town area and helping it to flourish once again."

Leicester Civic Society chairman Stuart Bailey said: "This is very good news for Leicester.

"The Leicester Civic Society knew of – and supported – the council's bid, but had no idea whether it would be successful.

"Together with Jubilee Square and the market redevelopment, it will be a vital part in the mayor's vision."

'Pop-up' shops plan for Old Town area in Leicester  city centre

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