Leicester seeks £3bn for building plan

Leicester City Council has begun a global search for £3bn of investment in order to fund future building plans.

The council said it wanted money to pay for a cultural quarter, improved transport links and a science park.

The council and marketing body Prospect Leicestershire said the economic climate meant government funding and bank loans had dried up.

The search would take in public and private sources in places such as India and the Middle East, they added.

The city council said since 2002, more than £1bn of work had produced the Curve theatre, Highcross shopping centre and the Phoenix Square arts centre.

'Mountain to climb'

Alistair Reid, strategic director of Leicester City Council, described the city as a "work in progress" and admitted it was aiming high.

"Of course it is ambitious and the people of Leicester expect that, we all want to be ambitious," he said.

"We want to see Leicester as a great place to work in, a great place to visit and a great place to play in and enjoy yourself.

"So yes, the task is there, the mountain is there to climb."

Council leader Veejay Patel said: "It is important to show that the work hasn't stopped.

"In the current economic times, it is more important than ever to show investors what Leicester has to offer, and to assure them that we have a track record of delivering successful, world-class regeneration projects."

The Labour-led city council recently approved plans to shave £28m off spending and shed about 500 jobs from 9,000 non-teaching staff next year, as it seeks to save £100m by 2015.

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