Council to force through land purchase for new Leicester road
Council officials have started the process of forcing the owners of a car park to sell up so they can build a link road.
Leicester City Council has been trying to buy the car park between Belgrave Gate and Mansfield Street for three years but negotiations have failed.
Officials have now written to four landowners, who hold the plots needed, to inform them a compulsory purchase order (CPO) has been prepared and submitted to the Department for Transport.
The area, extending to 2,400 square meters in total, used to be the ABC Cinema.
The £8.5 million link road would provide a better route out of the city centre for buses leaving Haymarket bus station.
It would also allow Mansfield Street to be upgraded, making it suitable for buses and improving the environment for pedestrians.
That, in turn, would allow the pedestrianisation of Haymarket and Church Gate.
Sandacre Street would form a new pedestrian route between St Margaret’s bus station and the nearby Haymarket bus station.
Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “We have not been able to reach an agreement with the landowners so we are taking the next step.
“In advance of a CPO, it is normal and understandable that owners should seek to get the best price for their property but the making of the CPO tends to get the owners to face up to the reality and we still hope we can acquire the land through negotiation.”
The council said the majority of the site is being used as a car park without authorisation.
Sir Peter said had it not been for the council’s intention to buy up the area, enforcement action would have been considered.
He said: “By creating this road, we will be able to improve journey times for the thousands of people who use bus services each day and provide a much-improved direct pedestrian link between Leicester’s two bus stations.
“The new road is supported by the Government’s Local Growth Fund, which means we already have the money in place to acquire the land and the access rights we need for this major scheme.”
If there are objections to the CPO – which must be submitted to the Secretary of State before February 16 – a hearing or a public inquiry may be held to consider them.