Car park where Richard III’s skeleton found to be auctioned off, but visitor centre will stay
A Leicester car park where the skeleton of Richard III was discovered will be auctioned off alongside a number of adjacent Grade II listed buildings.
However, the exact spot where the remains of the monarch were found in 2012 will remain as part of a visitor centre for tourists, councillors said.
The Grey Friars car park in the city centre will be sold on Feb 15 by Kal Sangra Shonki Brothers along with adjacent buildings, 1-7 Grey Friars, with a guide price of £4-£4.1 million.
The car park has been a scheduled ancient monument since 2017, which means that it is defined by Historic England as a “nationally important archaeological site that has protection against unauthorised change”.
Some of the adjacent buildings up for auction are Grade II listed.
City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “The exact location of where King Richard III was discovered is now incorporated as part of our successful visitor centre, however, the remainder of the site has continued to be used as a working car park to this day.
“The Grey Friars building has so much history and it’s a stunning building that will attract the attention of commercial developers who may convert the building for office, hospitality, or residential premises.
“Whilst the building is part of our history and heritage, I’m looking forward to seeing the next stage of its evolution.”
Richard III reigned for just over two years before his defeat and death at the Battle of Bosworth, in Leicestershire, in August 1485.
The defeat marked the end of the rule of the House of York and the beginning of the reign of Henry VII, the first Tudor monarch.
His body was taken to Leicester to show the public that he was truly dead, before being given a simple Christian burial by the choir of the Grey Friars church.
It was found in the car park, at the heart of Leicester’s Old Town, 527 years after it was buried, with the exact spot it was found now part of the King Richard III Visitor Centre.
Mike Denby, director of inward investment at Invest in Leicester, said: “We have seen significant interest in the site from a range of developers, keen to breathe life into the former council offices.
“Whomever is fortunate to secure the building at auction has a unique story to tell about the site that will last for generations to come.”
The Grey Friars building remained a religious friary for several years but by the 20th century it had been turned into a school, council offices and a car park.