Sunday, 25 July 2010

A circular bus route on the ring road

A lot of Leicester attractions and car parks are situated on or near the ring road. A lot of cars use the ring road and it is often congested. It's quite a long walk from one side of the ring road to the other and the transport hubs aren't in great locations. Why not have a circular bus route?

Ticket discounts or freebies could be available to people carrying tickets from the railway, NCP or other bus routes.

The ring road carved up the city when it was built but it isn't going to go away so we might as well make the most environmentally friendly use of it.

The death (and rebirth) of a 400 year old Leicester custom

Since 1636 the occupant of what was the Crown & Thistle pub (now part of O'Neill's) on Loseby Lane paid a peppercorn 'rent' of a damask rose and four old pennies to the Lord Mayor of Leicester. More details can be read here.

Why was this lovely old custom allowed to quietly die when the pub was absorbed into O'Neill's in 1997?

Update 6:30pm: Lord Mayor tweets that he'll see what he can do:

Update 28/07/2010: Lord Mayor discussed this on BBC Radio Leicester (34mins in) and apparently O'Neill's are up for bringing it back:

Update 15/11/2010: Leicester Mercury reports that the custom will be brought back next summer. Thanks to the Lord Mayor and O'Neill's.

Update 24/06/2011: The damask rose ceremony was held again after a 10 year absence (but were the arrears paid?!)

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Food courts

If you've ever been to Singapore you will have dined at the numerous and excellent value 'hawker centres' aka food courts which are dotted all over the city. These are multiple-outlet halls or open air food courts with communal seating areas and a large choice of different canteen-style kitchens surrounding. Typically there is a wide choice of ethnic foods including Chinese, Malay, South Indian, Indonesian, Western food, etc. They provide great value for money and generally very healthy food but they are also a place where people can meet up.

Lavender Food Court, Singapore. Image copyright mailer_diablo

Does this look like something that would work well in Leicester? Imagine being able to sit somewhere and have a choice of English, Indian, Caribbean, Chinese, etc food either at lunchtime, after work or in the evening. It would be a great addition to the New Business Quarter area of Leicester. In Singapore they even converted the old colonial railway station at Tanjong Pagar into a food court - worth a thought for our lovely but soon-to-be-obsolete station frontage?

Update 15/11/2010: Looks like my wish will be granted: Leicester City Council plan to include a multi-ethnic food court in their forthcoming revamp of Leicester Market (subject to planning approval). I've also been shown outline plans for a food court as part of a proposed new residential development in the Cultural Quarter.

Update 13/05/2011: Market Corner was opened today by Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Welcome to Leicester - Population 32

Here are are some scenes that confront drivers approaching Leicester from the motorways and roads into the city:-

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It would be very easy to blink and miss the UK's 10th largest city altogether if you didn't already know it was there.

Wouldn't it be great to have large welcoming signs at the approaches to the city showing pictures of what goes on here? This sort of thing is commonplace in countries like Belgium.

What positive images of Leicester would you choose to tempt people to visit? How about Guildhall, Tigers, Diwali & Highcross?

UPDATE 18/07/2010:-
The University of Leicester has just given Sir Terry Wogan an honorary degree for recognising this problem many years ago: "Sir Terry's link with Leicester began when he referred to it as 'the lost city' – one constantly mentioned in traffic reports but 'otherwise unknown to mankind'". Read the Leicester Mercury article here.