PLANS to restore the old Stoneygate tram depot and outbuildings as a transport heritage and resource centre are a step nearer, thanks to the support of the city council.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby has agreed to lease the London Road buildings to the Leicester Transport Heritage Trust (an umbrella that supports the Leicester Tram 31 Groups aims) for three years, with the aim of eventually selling it to them for the sum of £1.
The trust plans to bid for Heritage Lottery Funding to carry out the restoration work, and securing the premises will help them with their bid.
Peter Soulsby said: “This building is a former Corporation tram depot and a very appropriate place for a transport heritage centre.
“It’s believed to be one of only three remaining Edwardian tram depots in the country that are in their original condition. If the trust is successful with its plans, we will not only see an important historic building brought back into use, but we will also have a new local heritage project that people from across the city and county can benefit from.”
Mike Greenwood, Director of Research & Archives for the Leicester Transport Heritage Trust said: “The trust is very grateful to the City Mayor and the city council for the opportunity they are giving us to create a local transport heritage centre in what is a very appropriate building.
“Our ambitious plan is to use the tram depot to tell the fascinating story of the evolution of transport in the city in an exciting and creative way, and to make our extensive archives accessible to the public.
“Transport – and the thousands of transport employees behind the scenes – has been fundamental in ensuring the development of the modern Leicester that we know today.”
The location of the tram depot is notable for its association with local transport history. Stage coaches bound for London in the 18th and 19th centuries passed the site, as did the first local horse bus service in June 1863. Horse trams, electric trams, motor buses, cars and even trains have been associated with the site.