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Leicester’s Grand Hotel is set to be returned to its former glory after plans for its regeneration were improved.

The Grade II listed building, which sits in Granby Street, is set to be repaired and restored as part of Historic England’s £95 million High Street Heritage Action Zones, a Government funded project which aims to ‘unlock the potential of high streets across England, fuelling economic, social and cultural recovery’.

Picture: Mercure Leicester

The project follows another successful grant for £750,000 secured from the High Street Heritage Action Zone programme in November, which will be used to fund vital repair works to the ISKON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) building on the corner of Granby Street and Bishop Street.

This iconic Victorian building, designed by architect Joseph Goddard, will benefit from extensive roof repairs to protect its structure and remove it from the Buildings At Risk register.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke said that we had an “important responsibility to preserve the buildings for future generations to enjoy”.

“The Grand Hotel – now owned by the Mercure group – has always been considered one of Leicester’s most prestigious hotels, but today the ground floor is spoilt by poorly designed shop fronts, cheap modern materials and oversized signage”, he said.

“In February 2020, thanks to the hard work of the council’s conservation team, Historic England announced that Leicester had been successful in securing £1.5m towards a High Street Heritage Action Zone scheme for the Granby Street and Church Gate conservation areas.

“This means we have been able to support the hotel to get an expert conservation architect team, Conception Architects, to survey the building, and plans have now been submitted for changes that will highlight and enhance the building’s important and attractive historical features.”

Under the plans, the shopfronts that line the hotel will be reinstated as close to the building’s original design as possible, using a sustainable hardwood timber and toughened glass. A new retail unit on Belvoir Street will also be created.

Recessed doorways and delivery entrances will be fitted with bespoke iron gates, and uniform signage will be introduced, in keeping with the building.

There will also be improvements made to the hotel’s entrance, with cleaning and repairs made to the oriel windows and balcony. Specialists will look at the existing canopy above the entrance and determine whether it can be retained and restored.

Louise Brennan, Regional Director for the Midlands at Historic England, said: “This is a welcome step forward in the revitalising of this wonderful area of Leicester. The Grand Hotel is a prestigious building, and we are looking forward to supporting the repair and refurbishment of its street-facing ground floor. Hopefully, this will encourage more people, both tourists and local residents, to step inside to see its fantastic interior and become part of this historic building’s future.”

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