UPDATE: Lutyens event: limited places still available

City Series: “From country house to Viceroys house: A journey with Sir Edwin Lutyens”

Capture lutyens

Martin Lutyens, Chairman of The Lutyens Trust, will explain how Sir Edwin came to be the most celebrated British architect of his day. He will describe how Lutyens’ style matured and evolved, from the early houses which made his name, through grander houses, public buildings and memorials, leading onto the building, over almost 20 years, of New Delhi. He will describe the influence of Sir Edwin’s earlier work on the planning of New Delhi and the design of Government House (now Rashtrapati Bhavan); and how working in India influenced contemporaneous commissions in Britain and continental Europe.

The event will take place on Wednesday 27th June at 6:00pm and be hosted at: Victorian Art Gallery at New Walk Museum.

Book at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/from-country-house-to-viceroys-house-a-journey-with-sir-edwin-lutyens-tickets-46064529247

(The talk is sponsored by the HLF/Leicester City Council funded ‘Story of Parks’ project.)

Prior to the talk, there will be a limited number of spaces on a free walk around Lutyens’ work in Victoria Park, including the Arch of Remembrance, and a brief stroll via other local landmarks on New Walk.

Please get in touch to learn more and reserve a space: storyofparks@leicester.gov.uk  / 0116 4544935


New City Series event- Civilised Streets

Image of the Ride Leicester / Leicester City Council 2017 Schools Ride

The first free event of 2018 will be a special evening of talks and debate on Thursday 12th April 2018 and will focus on ‘Civilised Streets’. The event is part of the larger Transforming Cities 2018 Conference, which will take place in Leicester on the 12th and 13th April. There will be talks from local, national and international speakers on the challenge of making streets more liveable, through better design and management. The evening will consist of:

>    Chair’s introduction: Polly Billington, Director, UK 100  – Key city challenges: air quality for health and wellbeing in the public realm

>    Jon Orcutt, Director of Communications & Advocacy, Transit Centre, New York City – A international take on civilised streets – and how to achieve them

>    Cllr Adam Clarke, Deputy City Mayor, Leicester – Leicester’s vision for civilised streets

>    Brian Deegan, Design Engineer, Urban Movement – Delivering Leicester’s draft streetscape

A facilitated Q+A will follow.

The event will start at 5:15pm in the Vijay Patel Building at De Montfort University.


In addition there are a number of walks and rides associated with the Conference which can also be booked via the links below:






Strategic Planning is back…..

A major consultation is underway to shape the future of Leicester and Leicestershire to 2050.

People are being asked to have their say on a plan setting out how Leicester and Leicestershire will grow in the future.


A draft Strategic Growth Plan is being developed by a partnership formed by Leicester City and Leicestershire County councils, the seven local borough and district authorities and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).

It puts forward proposals for the new housing and transport improvements that would be needed to attract jobs and investment to Leicester and Leicestershire from now until 2050.


The final version of the plan will provide strategic direction and help shape the Local Plans that the city, borough and district councils are preparing or reviewing.

It will also be used to support bids for Government funding to deliver the infrastructure needed to support growth.

Now, people are invited to comment on the plan by taking part in a county-wide consultation, which runs from 11 January until 5 April 2018.

The plan estimates that Leicester and Leicestershire needs 96,580 new homes and 367-423 hectares of employment land from 2011-2031. Some of these homes have already been built or have planning permission.


Beyond 2031, the plan identifies the need for a further 90,500 dwellings and additional employment land, which is why further land needs to be unlocked. Local Plans will deal with the detailed allocation of which sites will be brought forward.


Draft proposals put forward in the Strategic Growth Plan include major infrastructure improvements on which new growth is dependent. These include a new link road – the A46 Expressway – to the south and east of Leicester, running from the M69 and the M1 to the A46 north of the city.

The A5 and A42 would also be upgraded to expressway status, supporting growth in these areas. Rail improvements are also proposed.


These road and rail improvements would require significant Government investment and would relieve congestion pressures along the M1 and more widely across the Midlands. It would also potentially unlock land for the required housing and employment.

Key areas for potential growth are the city of Leicester and the corridor of land around the proposed new road. Secondary areas for growth are identified in the north and the south of the county – there would be a ‘northern gateway’ close to East Midlands Airport, and a ‘southern gateway’, close to Magna Park.

Growth is also proposed for Melton and Lutterworth, where it would support transport improvements and relieve congestion in the towns. New housing would be built closer to where people work, to minimise congestion from commuters.

See the Partners’ website  for full details of the Draft Plan and go here for the online questionnaire to give your views.

The consultation also sets out an extensive new evidence base here which includes a number of reports.

The city has already grown through its boundary, and the council is planning in its local plan to go as far as it can to balance the predicted housing, employment and open space demands for a sustainable future for the city which allows growth but protects the environmental capacity of Leicester.

It has however already formally declared that it will not be able to accommodate its future growth needs without assistance from partner authorities.

Whilst the SGP involves difficult and controversial matters, it is in the interests of all parties to have a robust and forward looking plan which will set a strategic framework for the development of future local plans. The Plan will allow partners to take back control and position the authorities to secure the necessary infrastructure funding to support this critical growth agenda.






New City Series event: Edwin Lutyens Architecture of Remembrance

The next free talk will be delivered by Tim Skelton on Thursday 30th November 2017 and will focus on ‘Edwin Lutyens and The Great War’. Tim has written on a wide range of subjects, including travel and history, and is the author of ‘Lutyens and the Great War’. He is a member of the Lutyens Trust. The talk is sponsored by the HLF/Leicester City Council funded ‘Story of Parks’ project.


The work of the eminent architect Sir Edwin Lutyens is central to the way in which we now remember those who have given their lives in the service of their country. His Cenotaph forms the centrepiece of Remembrance Sunday and the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme at Thiepval is the largest British war memorial in the world.

Less well known is the work that he did for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in the design of cemeteries on the Western Front and the 50 memorials that he designed at home and abroad including at Victoria Park in Leicester, which was the largest of all. As well as inspiring architecture, the commissioning of the memorials tells interesting stories about British communities as they sought the best way to mark the loss that they had suffered.

The event will start at 5:15pm in the Victoria Room at New Walk Museum.


Homes, Jobs or Green space? Have your say on the New Leicester Local Plan

An extensive consultation is underway which will run through to 31st October 2017 seeking input to and views on the new City of Leicester Local Plan.

cityThe online consultation seeks views on 4 main documents:

  1. Emerging Options: seeks views on strategy options and choices around how to best strike the balance between allocating lands or sites for homes, employment retail and leisure purposes. It also sets out key issues such as the need to sustain open space and a specific questionnaire also seeks views on which open spaces people value most.openspace
  2.  Potential Sites document: this sets out all sites options which the Council is seeking views on. There is also the opportunity for new sites to be submitted which might help meet the council’s housing and employment land targets.Watermead
  3. Draft Development Management Policies: sets out a set of draft Development Management policies for consideration and comment
  4. Sustainability Appraisal: this seeks to test and assess how sustainable to policy options set out in the consultation are.

The site includes interactive maps which allows you to interrogate the site options……


……..and view specific highway safeguarding proposals.


The Council is also seeking views on its extensive evidence base which can be viewed here.

The Local Plan will form one of the most important documents which will shape the city’s future.

If you would like more information, or to arrange a specific discussion on aspects of the Local Plan please contact grant.butterworth@leicester.gov.uk


Leicester Urban Observatory Satellite Seminar 1: Urban Change in Small Cities

Brought to you by the University of Leicester is the first in a new set of partner provided seminars which is being developed to support of the main ‘City Series’ lecture programme.

The Satellite Seminars are intended to provide a more focussed opportunity to join one of the Observatory partner organisations in discussing a topic in more detail than the main City Series programme which is aimed at a more general interest audience.

The free talk will be delivered by Richard Ocejo on Tuesday 10th October 2017 and will focus on ‘Urban change in small cities’. Dr Ocejo is an Associate Professor at City University of New York and is author of  Masters of Craft: Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy and Upscaling Downtown: From Bowery Saloons to Cocktail Bars in New York City

The event will start at 5:00pm in LT2 Lecture Theatre 2, Bennett Building (University of Leicester). Registration is not required

Seminar summary from Richard: “I’m studying a small city (population 30,000) 60 miles north of New York City that underwent a steep decline in the late 20th century and is starting to rebound.  The people moving there are mostly middle class and finding New York City unaffordable.  They are in their late 20s-40s, established in their careers, want to maintain a certain urban lifestyle (to live in a place that’s walkable, bikeable, diverse, architecturally interesting), and have to commute to New York City infrequently if at all.  The artisan, light manufacturing, and arts economies are also expanding, as some new retail (a farm-to-table restaurant, cafes, a clothing boutique) have opened.  Meanwhile, the city is remarkably poor with a lot of crime, drugs, and abandoned and vacant properties. My initial macro-level thoughts revolve around the idea that the gentrification story in large, successful cities like New York is continuing in smaller nearby cities as the middle class gets priced out (low-income folks are obviously too poor to leave).”      

Leicester Urban Summer School

The University of Leicester, De Montfort University Leicester School of Architecture, Loughborough University and Leicester City Council recently hosted the inaugural Leicester Urban Summer School, exploring how architecture, history, urban design and policy are contributing to the city’s regeneration.

Revaluing Leicester A4 flier

Organised by the University of Leicester (UoL) on behalf of the Leicester Urban Observatory – a partnership between DMU, Leicester City Council, Loughborough University and UoL – the two day summer school aims to establish itself as a key annual event for those interested in studying urban issues.

Day 1 Friday 30th June 2017

Delegates were welcomed by Professor Simon Gunn from the Centre for Urban History at UoL, who had been the main inspiration behind the event.

Professor Gunn challenged them to use the Summer School to reconsider and revalue Leicester from a range of perspectives throughout the two days.

Designing Leicester

DMU’s Neil Stacey kicked off the interactive sessions with an architectural design workshop at the University of Leicester.


setting the challenge….
Will it fit?

The workshop challenged small groups to transform Leicester’s Soar Island into the ideal community- using scale plans, delegates rose to tackling the spatial questions faced by real life site planning considerations.


Perceptive conclusions were drawn- to be informed and maybe re-evaluated by a site visit later in the day.



Multicultural Leicester

Professor Loretta Lees, Professor of Human Geography at the University of Leicester, then took the floor to lead an insightful discussion on multicultural Leicester- drawing comparative thinking from global academic perspectives through to the City’s current population composition and make up.

The City is almost uniquely placed to take advantage of it’s diversity and character- a subject which generated much discussion about how a Leicester approach might help define a city model of multiculturalism going forward.


Leicester’s letters- a look and learn workshop

In the afternoon DMU welcomed delegates for an urban typography workshop led by Dr. Robert Harland, a Lecturer in Visual Communication (Graphic Design) at Loughborough University.


Attendees had the chance to compare the ornate and decorative graphic detail found on older buildings in Leicester to the more vivid and dynamic styles which have emerged in modern times, as well as to complete a simple but challenging typographic design exercise.



peer review

Thanks to DMU for photographs

Rob was critically incisive in his assessment of the delegates efforts- an eye opening and thought provoking session which brought home how design and visual appreciation is a skill and an art which we all have- to a greater, or lesser extent…..

Regenerating Leicester Waterside

The first day concluded with a session by Grant Butterworth, Head of Planning at Leicester City Council, concluded the day with a tour of the City’s Waterside and workshop in the newly refurbished Friars Mill.


friars mill after




The session asked attendees to role-play the position of the developer or that of the planner, with a lively debate ensuing during a ‘live’ review of the regeneration of the Leicester Waterside.

Negotiations were at times heated, good-humoured and passionate- but disappointingly the debates fell somewhat short of a happy and agreed consensus between developer and ‘elected’ Planning authorities.

Mr Butterworth declined to elaborate on how reflective of real life this outcome was.

A reception kindly sponsored by the University of Leicester and ongoing discussion followed through into an informal evening dinner and drinks which concluded the first day’s events.

Day 2: Saturday 1st July 2017

Engaging Challenges

Professor Lees and Grant Butterworth led an interactive discussion on how could municipal authorities more effectively engage with diverse communities and stakeholders .


This is a major issue for planning and regeneration- delegates tested opinions and perspectives which provided a broad range of insights.

Mr Butterworth committed to seek to take on board suggestions in the Council’s upcoming activities.

Urban Trails

Colin Hyde (East Midlands Oral History Archive, University of Leicester) held a masterclass exposition on the history and art of developing Town Trails.



Leicester unique track record of producing a variety of trails of the city’s assets presents a fascinating history of encouraging people to experience the city at first hand- a theme central to the Summer School’s agenda.

Keynote Lecture:

Leicester’s Changing Landscape: the city and modern architecture since 1945

Elain Harwood (Historic England) drew proceedings to a close with a tour de force presentation on the City’s modern architectural offer. A packed house was captivated by Elain’s energy, passion, knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject.



A unique asset

The keynote was a fitting conclusion to the Summer School which sought to encourage a Revaluing of the City.

The breadth of debate and discussion was a clear endorsement of confidence and value placed upon the city by a wide range of participants, and different perspectives of partners allowed a new understanding and evaluation of what makes the city special.

A video of Elain’s talk can be seen  here. 

(courtesy of Colin Hyde of the east Midlands Oral History Archive)

Partners are already in discussion about how to build on the event and any feedback or comments in this respect would be very welcome via this blog.

Thanks must go to all the delegates for their enthusiastic participation, the contributors and hosts, but in particular to the efforts of Sally Coleman and Professor Simon Gunn at UoL and Justin Webber at the City Council, without whom it really wouldn’t have happened.