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Leicester Cathedral Gardens set to be built

image captionJohn Nicholls and Canon Peter Hobson from Leicester Cathedral with contractor Mike Cafferky and city mayor Peter Soulsby where work is due to start

Work is to begin on a £2.5m transformation of the historic heart of Leicester.

The city's Cathedral Quarter will be revamped and improvements will be made to Peacock Lane.

The newly developed area, combined with neighbouring sites, will create an outdoor event space with seating for up to 800 people.

The Very Reverend David Monteith, Dean of Leicester, said it was preparation for the reburial of Richard III.

"I'm very pleased that long-awaited proposals for Cathedral Gardens are now proceeding into reality," he said.

"As a Cathedral which serves the whole of the city and county, we are delighted to be working in close partnership with both city and country authorities, as well as generous benefactors, to create this space close to the heart of our communities."

image captionWork has already begun on the nearby Jubilee Square

The construction contract was awarded this week with work due to start next week.

Cathedral Gardens will be a new public space in front of Leicester Cathedral.

The statue of King Richard III, currently in Castle Gardens, will be moved to sit outside the King Richard III Visitor Centre opposite the cathedral.

A work of public art has been commissioned by the county council which will sit at the other end of the gardens, close to St Martin's House.

City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said the work will compliment nearby Jubilee Square.

"Cathedral Gardens is a wonderful vision for a calm oasis at the heart of the city centre," he said.

"I am delighted we have been able to work in such close partnership with the Diocese to help deliver this fantastic project."

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