Leicester: Do Two Halves Make A Whole Centre?

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Leicester City Centre
Photo by Harmesh Valley

Having grown up in my beloved city, Leicester, I find it difficult to understand what exactly has happened to it. As a youngster growing up in Leicester, I’ve always thought this is a pretty cool place to grow up in. Yet as I grew older, and started to understand what’s what, I can’t help but think whether the surroundings in my childhood was just an illusion. As an adult now, Leicester is nothing like I remember it to be.

It pains me to say this, as I still love Leicester, but its city centre has really become a centre of two halves. You either hate it or you hate it, plain and simple. Yes it is getting rave reviews mainly thanks to the recently built Highcross Shopping Centre, but a city centre shouldn’t be classed as such mainly on the merits of its shopping centre. A city centre needs character, style and a sense of belonging to that city, something sadly Leicester only has in bits.

I think the introduction of The Shires Shopping centre started the catalyst for the city centre on a downward spiral. Instead of bringing new fashion brands to The Shires, the stores we already had instantly moved to the new shopping centre. Unfortunately, The Highcross proved to be the final nail in the coffin for the city centre. What should probably be the two main shopping streets for Leicester, Belgrave Gate and Gallowtree Gate, now sit there looking derelict as if they’ve just come out from the 80’s. I have to also say the entrance to the city centre from the Railway Station, i.e. Granby Street doesn’t inspire much of a shopping experience either.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Like I said, Highcross is a major attraction, and it does attract the shoppers, it’s just a shame it’s not balanced out with the rest of the city centre. Likewise, St Martins Square is a nice little place to shop, and it’s a little quieter than the hustle and bustle of The Highcross. If you’re willing to travel further afield, then you can always try out The Stoneygate Shops on Allandale Road, or further still Fosse Park Shopping Centre.

I firmly believe that with the addition of The Highcross, and with the redevelopment of the surrounding areas, Leicester will become a formidable shopping experience, I thoroughly look forward to that day.

You can visit the following website to see what The Highcross has to offer:

www.highcrossleicester.com

Please write in and let us know what your experience of Leicester shopping is like, as well as other cities you may have visited.

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