A proposal to demolish the remaining Corah factory buildings in Leicester and build 1,187 flats in their place has been branded a ‘tragic end’ by a local heritage group. Leicester Civic Society said the plans, submitted by CityRegen Leicester and Galliford Try Investments, ‘fall short of the mark’ of what it would like to see done with the historic site.
TO proposal put to Leicester City Council reveals that only three features of the existing site would be maintained. The façade of the 1865 textile works building facing the Corah Green would be kept, along with the two chimneys at the northern end of the site which are considered key landmarks of the city’s skyline. The other “magnificent” buildings would go.
Haward Soper, writing for the societysaid: “The Corah factory site is probably the most important large-scale development opportunity that has emerged in Leicester for many years. It is vital that we get it right, but Leicester Civic Society believes the plans put forward by CityRegen Leicester and Galliford Try Investments fall short of the mark.
“The CityRegen / Galliford proposals repeatedly reference the heritage of the place, this ‘treasured landmark’, and yet the only parts of Corah that will remain will be the façade of the internal textile building and two chimneys – everything else will be torn down. It will probably be the biggest mass demolition witnessed in Leicester since the terraced housing clearances of the 1960s and 1970s, wiping away the magnificent main factory buildings that face St John Street and Burleys Way. “
The developers claimed in the planning application that the derelict condition of some buildings meant “they are beyond viable salvage or repair”. Some of them are already crumbling, with collapsed roofs, broken windows and significant water damage, they added.
The planning application also stated that removing the horseshoe-shaped factory building, which fronts onto Burleys Way, at the south of the site, would “dramatically” open up the site. This would allow the facade of the old textile works building to stand more prominently, it added. In addition, a ‘super-crossing’ would be created, providing direct connection between the city center and Abbey Park, it added.
But Dr Soper said the plans were a missed opportunity to celebrate Leicester’s industrial past. He said in his article: “In Leicester, we have a proud industrial past that is hugely important and worth celebrating. Much of our industrial heritage has already been lost and the rejuvenation of the Corah site is an amazing opportunity for our city, in a place so significant in memory, it should be a fitting development that will be loved and lasting. “
The society has called on residents to join its campaign to fight the plans and “preserve and celebrate Leicester’s industrial heritage” by commenting on them. It is not yet known when the proposal will be debated by the city council’s planning committee.
TO city council spokesman said: “The proposed scheme includes the retention of heritage assets, including listed building facades and chimneys. The council’s planning and conservation officers will carefully consider the heritage statement and supporting documents submitted by the applicant, and the impact of the development on heritage assets, alongside the benefits of regenerating this large, former industrial site for new housing.
“This assessment will be reported to the council’s planning committee for a decision in due course, along with the consideration of responses to consultations from interested parties.” LeicestershireLive has approach Galliford Try Investments for a comment. We could not find contact details for CityRegen Leicester.