Leicester

Leicester Castle's Great Hall to become De Montfort business school

Leicester Castle Great Hall
Image caption The Great Hall was built in the 11th or 12th Century but was altered in the 19th Century

A disused building in the centre of Leicester is set to be transformed into a university business school.

Leicester Castle's Great Hall is thought to have been built by the Normans but was substantially altered and later converted to a court.

The building closed in the 1990s and was only opened on special occasions.

De Montfort University will convert it using a large donation from a Chinese investor. The move is backed by the city council, which owns the castle.

A donation by international businessman Jonathan Choi will support the £136m Mill Lane campus, which is to include fashion, design, art and architecture departments.

Image caption The historic building was used as a county court in Leicester

A new creative and cultural centre will be named for Mr Choi, who is chairman of the Hong Kong-based Sunwah Group, which has worldwide investments in seafood, real estate, financial services, technology and media.

Mr Choi said: "In the future we hope that more Chinese leaders will come over to visit our centre.

"With this centre we can work well with the UK community. Besides that, I think we can have more collaboration between China and the UK in education."

The Jonathan KS Choi Creative and Cultural Centre will focus on student exchanges and showcase a variety of work from Chinese dance to British fashion.

City councillor Patrick Kitterick said there had been a mixed reaction to the site, but said the city will work with local residents on any problems.

The final plans for the development of the castle, which is a Grade I listed building, have not yet been released.

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