Thursday, March 24, 2016

Leicester's Great Central wagon repair works revived

The former Great Central wagon repair works on Upperton Road, which I went to photograph in 2011 when they were threatened with demolition, have won an award from Leicester Civic Society.

The Mercury quotes the society's chairman Stuart Bailey:
"Despite being locally listed in 2011 the wagon works was subjected to severe criminal damage, clearly aimed at hastening its loss to allow redevelopment of a valuable site. 
"It was at this point that it was acquired by Jamie Lewis Residential Lettings and work commenced on rescue and reuse. 
"There are retail units, including a Starbucks at the lower level and facilities in support of nearby student accommodation above, including meeting rooms, reading rooms and a gymnasium. 
He added: "This is an outstanding example of heritage led regeneration and a worthy win of the 2015 Restoration Award for this building, a part of the city's history that was very nearly lost.
So I went back to Upperton Road on Saturday for a coffee.

The wagon works are now rather sanitised, but if they can't be a picturesque ruin then I would much rather have them like this than demolished.

Around them the Lego-fashioned student accommodation dominates the area even more than it did five years ago as you will see if you compare the first photograph above (taken on Saturday) with the first one below (taken five years ago).

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