Let me introduce you to Rhys Evans, a local daring-do powerboat sportsman who blasts across the open blue without a care in the world. “When not ripping up the water, Rhys takes time to get in a few hours flying helicopters” observed one awestruck reporter.
On a more mundane level, Rhys runs Uppingham-based luxury bric-and-brac shop, Goodwin and Belle, who are proud of their products which display their “true love of simple, functional and beautiful design, appropriate in both traditional and contemporary environments”.
Incidentally, Rhys is also a keen property tycoon and has just lodged plans with the Council to demolish a beautiful building on Oxford Street (see below), to make way for… you guessed it, yet more student accommodation. His firm, Evans Heritage Developments — which Rhys runs with his father — fervently believes that Leicester needs to ignore our heritage in order that the Evans family can profit from endless supplies of student housing.
Evans’ first student build in the city centre, Oxford House, is home to 55 students, while their second site, Oxford Grange was completed in 2011 and houses a further 148 students. Charging around £100 a week such accommodation is quite a money-spinner for Rhys and his father (rent at the two sites brings in around £80,000 a month).
According to Stuart Bailey of the Leicester Civic Society, the building that Rhys would like to needlessly destroy “is a fine city centre example of a c1890 hosiery factory and adds much to the otherwise diminishing architectural quality of Oxford Street, which has lost two old pubs, Ladies Pride Knitwear and the Fox’s works in recent years.” Stuart adds, these already lost properties “have all been replaced by blocks of poor quality student apartments.”
Yet if our Council were in the hands of a progressive political party, then efforts could be made to convert many of our city’s beautiful currently derelict buildings into much-needed council homes. But alas this is not the case at the moment… anyway.
For the time being, if you want to object to the continuing misuse of our city centre by fat-cat profiteers, then click this link to make an objection to the demolition; and while you are at it, why not make an alternative suggestion for what you think our city needs.