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Plans submitted to knock down much of the historic Corah factory in Leicester for 1,000-plus new homes

By Tom Pegden

Plans have been submitted to knock down much of the historic Corah textiles factory in Leicester to make way for more than 1,000 new homes.

Developers say they want to retain the main façade of the oldest building on the site as well as two chimneys at the northern end.

Most of the site would make way for 1,187 new homes, as well as shopping and leisure facilities, public spaces and a footbridge across the Grand Union Canal connecting it with Abbey Park.

A hybrid planning application has been submitted to Leicester City Council by Cityregen Leicester and Galliford Try Investments, who say they want to open it up to full public use for the first time.

The plans have been criticised by Leicester Civic Society, which said the near-total clearing of the site would be probably "the biggest mass demolition witnessed in Leicester since the terraced housing clearances of the 1960s and 1970s".

A spokesperson for the city council told LeicestershireLive the "impact of the development on heritage assets" would be taken into account when making a decision on the proposal.

The developers want to build a block of 44 flats behind the decorative brick facade of the old textile works building, which the application says would become the "heart and the hub of the regeneration".

The building would also contain shops and other amenities, though details of the remaining 1,000-plus homes are yet to be submitted.

An application for full planning permission would need to be submitted to the council before any work could be carried out on anything given outline approval.

A spokesperson for Cityregen Leicester and Galliford Try Investments said: “Our transformative proposals promise to unlock the Corah Site and create a new legacy for this important location in the city.

“The plans will bring new life to this area of Leicester, creating a dynamic new community and destination which will act as a catalyst for further growth and regeneration in the area.

“By delivering a significant number of homes, this site can also play a major role in easing the housing shortages facing local people, while creating fantastic new green spaces and public realm in the city.

“While reinvigorating the Corah Site, our proposals also recognise its important history.

“Our plans are inspired by this legacy and the heritage of the site has been threaded through the proposals to ensure the people of Leicester are connected to the Corah Site’s past in its new reincarnation.”

The 7.7 acre Burleys Way site sits in the city’s Waterside Regeneration area which is in the middle of £250-million plus of investment – including new hotels, PRS and student schemes, offices, shared workspaces and the recent transformation of the semi-derelict Leicester Central Station into a leisure complex.

According to Companies House, Cityregen is registered in Wigston to Dinesh Kotak and James Dinesh Kotak.

The masterplan was put together by the Leicester offices of Maber Architects, which has worked on major projects including the Isaac Newton Building and the University of Lincoln, new media facilities at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, as well as Leicester’s King Richard III Visitor Centre and Dock tech hub.

The area is seen as one of the city’s most prominent brownfield sites and is a short walk from the city centre.

A spokesman from developers previously said the former Corah factory site, which sits within the St Margaret’s area, is identified as an opportunity for regeneration within Leicester City Council’s adopted core strategy, forming part of the Strategic Regeneration Area.

He said: “Since the 1980s the site was sold and vacated in a piecemeal way, resulting in many of the buildings falling into disrepair and being subject to vandalism and arson attacks.

“The regeneration of the Corah site has the potential to deliver a huge boost to Leicester and it is imperative that the masterplan realises the full potential of the opportunity.

“Inspired by the history and heritage we can create an exciting destination scheme which will transform this area of Leicester and make best use of a prominent brownfield site.”

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