Leicester market redevelopment designs revealed

Aerial view of new Leicester market development
Image caption Work has already started on the new food hall and is expected to be complete by January 2014
Corn Exchange images in Leicester
Image caption Designers said they were inspired by London's Covent Garden for the area's new look
Food hall images in Leicester
Image caption The second phase of the redevelopment is expected to be complete by the end of 2014

A "Covent Garden feel" is the inspiration behind designs for Leicester's new market, say designers.

Plans for the second phase of the city's indoor market have been revealed and include a new extension for restaurants, bars and an open space.

There will also be a statue of Leicester suffragette Alice Hawkins.

City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said the latest plans would bring life back to a "grotty 1970s market" and the area around it.

'Continue to thrive'

Work has already begun on building the new food hall, as part of the £7m development.

This is expected to be complete by January, after which the current market will be demolished and work will start on creating a new open space in its place.

Sir Peter said: "We can now bring down that grotty 1970s building they have been trading in.

"It has been here for generations past and I'm determined it will continue to thrive for generations to come."

Image caption Alice Hawkins regularly stood on the steps of the Corn Exchange building to deliver her speeches

He added that architects Greig and Stephenson had taken inspiration from London's Covent Garden square for the design.

The latest plans also show how the nearby Corn Exchange building will be altered as part of the overall scheme.

Traders and shoppers have already shown mixed reactions to the plans.

Peter Barratt, the great grandson of Alice Hawkins, said the designs would bring the area into the 21st century while remembering a key Leicester figure.

"I have been working on getting a statue for Alice for the last few months," he said.

"It is great to see she will be standing close to the steps of the Corn Exchange where she campaigned for the rights of women almost 100 years ago."

Members of the public can now give their views on the designs until next month. They can be viewed online or during special events in the Market Place.

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