De Montfort University wants to turn Mill Lane into a landscaped public space with cycle paths, trees and benches.
Yesterday, the university showcased the plans – which will take more than four years to put in place – and asked residents to tell them what they thought.Sadly for the university, that’s just what they did:
But most people at the event held in the university's Hugh Aston building were against the idea.Unsurprisingly, they weren’t too keen at the high-handed attitude and the local council’s fawning obsequiousness towards their demands…
Ramesh Patel, 47, a building engineer who has lived in the area all his life, said: "Mill Lane has been here, as a road, for a very long time – far longer than the university has been here.
"I think if we turn the road into a pedestrianised area it will give off the idea that it belongs to the university – to the students – and they can use it as they please.
"This is our neighbourhood too. The designs all look very well on paper, but practically it is a terrible idea. It will create rat-runs through the surrounding streets and residents just don't want it."He wasn’t alone:
Pensioner Leonard Cook, 74 agreed. "I think it is ridiculous that the council isn't standing up to this terrible idea," he said. "Can't they see the pressure this will put on the other roads in the area?"Perhaps they just don’t care? Given they probably don’t live there…
A 75-year-old resident of nearby Grasmere Street, who did not want to be named, said: "The students on my road are fine – it is the idiots who run past at 3am banging on my door and shouting that are the problem.
"The students have already destroyed the neighbourly spirit and community.
"If they pedestrianise it will get worse. They will think they own the place."It sounds very much as if they already do!
It’s not a done deal, though:
Next week Leicester City Council will hold a 21-day public consultation over the plans, before the university applies for planning permission in March. If approved, work would start at the beginning of April, and would not completed until December 2016.So the university has a hell of a spin job on its hands. They seem up to the challenge, however:
Umesh Desai, deputy director of estates at the university, said the changes would make the area better for residents, staff and students. He said: "When we speak to the community they say they want more open spaces and green areas, and this will help create that. Apart from being safer, it will look better, be more pleasant and better lit, with benches and trees and green areas."And so what if it means your streets will see more traffic?
Some people who visited the exhibition supported the proposed changes.
Sara Scarry, 21, a design management student, said: "I nearly get knocked down pretty much every time I use the road, so I think it would be far safer."Really, love? I cross roads every day, and I don’t get ‘nearly knocked down’ – maybe you could consider using the crossings?