July Knott's Landing

Access to Leicester city centre is being made harder and harder for residents. The drawbridge is being pulled up. It started back in the day when they built the inner ring road. A noose around the centre of town - A two or three lane tarmac barrier. So we learned to navigate the crossing points, we found ways in, points of entry so we could use the city centre, participate in city life. We used businesses in the city, we shopped, we nipped into the centre to grab a few things, we worked there.

Leicester TrafficBut somehow decisions were made and the noose tightened. Public transport became more difficult and expensive to use. Walking in becomes more unpleasant with poor air quality and busy roads. Cycling is an interesting and sometimes suicidal exercise in navigation. And driving into town? Well it's almost like they want to keep cars spinning around the outside like a fidgeter but never actually allowing them in.

Recently the roadworks and the changes being made make it seem as if every entry point to the city from this side has been shut down. Unless we take public transport at more than the cost of using a car, use the fiendishly expensive NCP car park at St Nicholas Circle or those empty lots by the river, there is no parking for anyone who needs to nip into town. Nothing for those who need to work there.

There is no nipping into the city any more. Recently it took me over half an hour to navigate my car from London Road over to Mill Lane. Roadworks, one way systems and parking restrictions. They all contributed to trying to keep me out. I can't dash to the market to grab a few things. If you work in town finding parking is a nightmare. There are hardly any parking spaces on roads, every street heading into town is being pedestrianised. But for whom? Tourists? The students who are only here 9 months of the year? Those are the only people who seem to live in the city centre now. They can't sustain businesses. I know of several companies who have folded because their customers from outside the city centre could not reach them easily. Students aren't interested in local politics. They don't have a lot of disposable income. They are temporary. Actual residents, who should be at the centre of everything the council do, are being kept away and our city centre will be hollowed out as a result.

Helen Knott