The proposed development site is located at the junction of Highcross Street (A50) and Great Central Street. It is bounded on its southern edge by All Saints Open.
The site was formerly occupied by a factory but is currently vacant, neglected and overgrown. At the northern edge of the site is a similarly vacant and derelict two and three storey building described as a local landmark, which makes a positive contribution to the Waterside area.
The site is within easy walking distance of the City Centre which is approximately 200 metres away at its closest point and Haymarket Clock Tower, which is approximately 750 metres away.
The river Soar and Soar Island are some 250 metres to the west and the Grand Union Canal is approximately the same distance to the north of the site.
The site is currently disconnected from the City Centre by the central ring road, which has led to the demise of the area generally. High volumes of traffic dominate and the area is not pedestrian friendly. Existing surrounding buildings are predominantly two storeys in height with occasional buildings rising to four or five storeys.
To the north-east of the site is the redundant All Saints Church, which is Grade 1 listed. The presence of the church has created the All Saints Conservation Area, in which the site is located.
The rest of the immediate area is characterised by a fragmented streetscape of low rise twentieth century commercial and light industrial buildings and vacant sites. There are a number of historic buildings in the vicinity as well as a cluster of community facilities including the listed Slater Street school and All Nations Centre.
The site is bounded on two sides by a 1 .5 metre high red brick wall, and a metal railed fence on the southern side, and recently erected timber hoarding around the site perimeter, following ecological survey and subsequent clearance.
To the northern end of the site is a part two/part three storey brick building, which appears to have been retail units with residential accommodation above.
The roads surrounding the site run in a one way clockwise direction around the site, creating an island, although it is understood that there are plans to make the roads two way and to narrow them along Great Central Street to two lanes with cycle lanes and landscaped car parking bays.
Opposite the site on Great Central Street are a number of light industrial buildings occupied by manufacturing or vehicle repair businesses. There is an area of dense foliage on the junction of Great Central Street and Soar Lane.
On the other side of the main junction, on Highcross Street, is a large storage facility consisting of a four storey building with a large car park occupying the corner of the junction. Running south along Highcross Street are an number of light industrial buildings and some retail buildings before the church.
The site on the south side of All Saints Open is another formerly industrial site, which is now also derelict and vacant.
As part of the transformation of the area it is understood that a number of site specific and infrastructure developments are to take place in the near future. These developments will set the future context for other development in the area and will create opportunities for better cycling and pedestrian connectivity to the City Centre, the River and other parts of the City.
The site is an island site bounded by three roads which form part of a major route in and out of Leicester City centre. A one way system was introduced some time ago, which has created a roundabout around the site cutting it off from other parts of the area and from the City.
At the northern end of the site is 1 76 and 1 78 Highcross Street, discussed elsewhere in this report, which is a significant building in the area but which has become vacant and derelict in recent years. The site is partly walled along two sides with a metal fence around its southern end. The site is derelict and covered in dense foliage.
Entrances to the site are unclear with the exception of two crossovers on Great Central Road and historic maps show it as being previously occupied by two factories. The orientation of the site with its proximity to some relatively wide roads provide opportunities for use of natural light, sunlight and
natural ventilation in the development. This makes the site particularly relevant for residential development.
The width of surrounding roads also provide important views and any development on the site should respect those views and the other buildings in the area. The development taking place in the Waterside area and other initiatives to reconnect the area with the City will help establish the site and proposed development should, in turn, enhance the routes in and out of the City.