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Midland Heart and Westleigh Homes to build 395 new homes in Leicester

A £58 million investment to regenerate three sites in Leicester is expected to provide 395 new homes.

Housing providers Midland Heart is working in partnership with developer Westleigh Homes to build homes across a mix of tenures on the three disused brownfield sites. They will include private sale, market rent through Cygnet Property Management, a subsidiary of Midland Heart, and homes for “affordable” rent.

The investment has been made through Midland Heart Private Finance, with a contribution of a £4.9 million grant from the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) for the affordable housing elements.

The former hosiery factory on Leicester’s Wolsey Island, where the iconic Wolsey chimney and water tower will be retained, will see the construction of 188 new homes.

The second and third sites at former St Mary’s Allotments on Aylestone Road and abandoned industrial land off Green Lane Road, will bring a further 125 and 82 new homes respectively.

“This is a hugely exciting project for Midland Heart demonstrating both our commitment to bring genuinely affordable and high quality housing to Leicester while also retaining the areas rich heritage,” said Ruth Cooke, Midland Heart’s chief executive.

“In the Midlands we have a number of sites, like Wolsey Island that are in need of sensitive regeneration to bring them back in to use. It is important to us, where we are able, to invest in these sites, extending our stock and improving access to much-needed affordable housing.”

The redevelopment of the former hosiery factory on Leicester’s Wolsey Island is now formally underway and ground work has also started at St. Mary’s Allotment and Green Lane Road.

Matthew Moore, property director at Westleigh, said: “This is an exciting time for Leicester and we are looking forward to breathing new life into an area of the city which has been left behind by the regeneration that has happened all around it.

“We are a locally-based developer, so we understand the significance that the Wolsey factory holds for people in Leicester and the need to protect its legacy. We are proud to be working with the city council and our partners at Midland Heart to turn these plans into a reality.”

City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby was invited to break ground on the Wolsey Island site at a ceremony with representatives from Midland Heart and Westleigh, speaking of the project he said: “This is a very welcome development for this part of the city. Leicester boasts some beautiful riverside settings but, until fairly recently, development in these areas has been slow to come forward.

“I hope Midland Heart’s and Westleigh’s vision will inspire other landowners to see the potential for their own sites in this area, and help to bring more of the city’s riverside back into use with new places to live and work.”


Photo: Ruth Cooke, chief executive, Midland Heart; Matt Moore, Westleigh; and Sir Peter Soulsby, Leicester city mayor

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