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Pedestrian zone will finish us

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Traders are concerned about plans to pedestrianise streets near their city centre shops.

The business owners from St Martin's Square fear the pedestrianisation of nearby Grey Friars, St Martin's and Hotel Street will have an adverse effect on their trade and deter shoppers from visiting the area.

The plans are part of the city council's £19 million Connecting Leicester project, which aims to make historic parts of the city more accessible and link them together.

Tamsin Straiton, the owner of St Martin's clothes store Pollys, said pedestrianising the roads would completely kill trade for the area

She said: "This area is dying anyway, it's on its knees. The council should be trying to help us, not make it worse.

"If we didn't have our lease then we would be gone – we have no future."

Dane Beesley, manager of St Martin's Tea & Coffee Merchants, is concerned that pedestrianisation will lead to less parking available for shoppers.

He said: "These proposals could cause big problems. It's taking away the convenience of being able to park your car."

Stuart and Lisa Delahoy, owners of neighbouring independent gift shops Set and 2Clear, which are soon moving from the area, are still worried about the proposed plans.

Lisa said: "This area needs people to be able to get here easily and making it pedestrianised will just be creating an obstacle.

"A lot of the businesses in this area, such as Cartridge World, depend on people who are able to park their cars and pop into the shops for five minutes.

"There are shops around here that sell big items such as pictures or flowers and people don't want to be walking across town with these – it's just awkward.

"I understand the reasoning behind the idea but we want the best of both worlds.

"We know it will connect the city but we still need people to be able to collect their shopping with ease. It is convenient to have a drop-off point and this will take away that option."

City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said that the proposed plans will help create a stronger trading environment for independent retailers.

"Linking Leicester's retail centre to our historic old town, and creating more attractive pedestrian routes between our shops and heritage attractions, will help encourage even more people to visit and explore our city centre and its fantastic arcades and lanes," he said.

"The project will have clear benefits for businesses in this part of the city centre and I am confident that a number of new operators will be moving into recently-vacated units in this area over the coming weeks."

A consultation on the pedestrianisation plans ended yesterday.

The Love Lanes Festival on Saturday, July 20, aims to promote the area around Loseby Lane, Carts Lane and St Martin's Square. It will feature shops, stalls, cafes, workshops, demonstrations and live music spilling out on to the streets from 10am to 5pm.

Pedestrian zone will finish us


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