Connecting Leicester Market to the City Centre
Hickman & Smith Architects is proud to announce their role in developing the aesthetic appearance and layout of Leicester’s historic outdoor market. Commissioned by Leicester City Council, this project is part of the strategic regeneration of the city centre. Key aims included the need for a brighter, lighter, safer, and more welcoming public space to encourage people to spend time at the historic outdoor market.
Leicester Market is steeped in archaeological heritage, with signs of an operating market dating back to Roman times. Falling within the Market Place Conservation Area, this project required a sensitive intervention to provide a flexible modern market, alongside essential works to address the dilapidation of certain structures.
Proposals had to consider the need for improved natural light, shelter, security and surveillance. Along with the adaptation and replacement of old wooden stalls, the new stalls will have flexible canopies allowing secure lock up for traders. Improvements include a central children’s play area, the relocation of the café, and a warmer area for people to eat and drink during the colder months. The closed market roof has also been adapted.
Director and Architect, David Hickman said “There are few open, green spaces in the city centre, where people can sit and enjoy their surroundings. By opening up the market roof, we are exposing historical architectural gems that people currently miss, due to them being obscured.”
Reflecting the city council’s Connecting Leicester activities, Hickman & Smith Architects wanted to make it easier for people to move across the outdoor market. A multifunctional arrival space at the intersection of Green Dragon Square links the spaces together. It was important to create a cohesive connection between the Food Hall and surrounding retail areas, such as St Martins, The Lanes, Granby Street and the High Street.
As city centres across the UK struggle with the challenges of a volatile retail sector, encouraging footfall across our high streets and retail areas is crucial for the local economy. Developing a more open and flexible space will help to retain and promote fresh produce, value ranges, atmosphere and local history.
David Hickman continued “We wanted to create a vibrant, high-quality look and feel to the market to encourage footfall. The stalls will be well-lit and easy to navigate, ensuring this zone will become an appealing evening destination, especially for special events and seasonal festivities”.
Refurbishment works for Leicester Market will be delivered in phases over 15 months, which will involve traders relocating to a temporary market in Green Dragon Square.
For more information, or if you would like to discuss a potential project, please get in touch.