The last remaining pedestrian underpasses in Leicester’s city centre are set to be permanently closed to the public, after being described as ‘a magnet for crime and anti-social behaviour.’
Leicester City Council will permanently close the pedestrian underpasses under St Margaret’s Way from May 2023, it has been revealed.
Lack of use, as well as concerns over safety and fear of crime have been sited as reasons for the decision.
Originally constructed in 1978, the St Margaret’s Way underpasses are rarely used by pedestrians nowadays. For over 25 years, surface-level pedestrian crossings have provided an alternative to the underpass. A recent survey indicated a huge majority of people (85 per cent) choose to use road crossings rather than the underpasses due to safety concerns and a fear of crime.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on transport, clean air and climate emergency, said: “The St Margaret’s Way underpasses are a throwback to outdated transport policy and the original 1970s ring road. It is unappealing to pedestrians and can be a magnet for anti-social behaviour which, quite understandably, leads to genuine concerns about personal safety.
“It will be the last of our city centre underpasses to be closed off as we continue the shift to more people-friendly, attractive streets and spaces.
“Closing it off will also be the first step in a much more ambitious and longer-term aim to transform this busy and sprawling junction into a much more inviting gateway into the city centre for everyone.”
The city council will install security fencing and gates blocking access to the three underpasses. Signs will be displayed in the area before work begins.
Work to install the new security fencing is expected to cost around £30,000. The wider work will cost around £15 million.