A £2million scheme to regenerate Loughborough town centre continues to move forward with councillors due to discuss the latest stage shortly.
The Bedford Square Gateway Project will transform the southern end of the town centre and create a more attractive and pedestrian-friendly destination for shoppers.
Charnwood Borough Council’s Cabinet will meet on May 7 to discuss the next stage of the project including approving the overall design.
The project has been in the pipeline for several years and the Council says it will become part of the longer-term recovery of the town centre after being hit by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing guidelines.
Cllr Jenny Bokor, lead member for Loughborough, said: “Our local economy has taken a hammering in the past few weeks and we know social distancing is going to have an impact on our lives for some time yet.
“Therefore it’s important to look to the future and at ways to support our town centres and businesses. The Bedford Square Gateway Project is one way of doing this as it will greatly enhance Loughborough town centre and play a role in the town’s long term recovery.
“As a Council we are committed to leading the recovery of the borough and will be working with local businesses, partners and residents to restore our communities and local economy.”
The Council has made some changes to the scheme following a public exhibition in February, including adding a pedestrian crossing point at the Granby Street end of Devonshire Square.
At their virtual meeting, Cabinet members will consider commissioning further technical work for the project, involving legal agreements and further detailed design drawings, to meet county highway requirements.
The scheme covers Bedford Square, Ward’s End and Devonshire Square and sees footpaths widened and re-paved and character street lighting and furniture added.
The full cost of the scheme is estimated to be around £2 million. Councillors will also discuss plans to phase the work to ensure the remaining funds are available.
A large open space in Devonshire Square would be created to host events and the scheme also retains parking and maintains traffic flow in the area.
The scheme also includes an improved pedestrian access and lighting to link Devonshire Square and Granby Street Car Park via Devonshire Lane. New pedestrian crossings will be added to improve safety and the pedestrian area will increase by nearly a third.
A public exhibition at John Storer House in March saw 116 people attend to give their views, while officers from the council have also met directly with 24 town centre businesses to discuss proposals.
The Council hopes work can start early in 2021 and be completed by October 2021.
For more information about the scheme and to watch the 3D animation, visit www.charnwood.gov.uk/bedfordsquare.
Visit the cabinet paper online https://bit.ly/2xYllFg.