The Historic Coventry 2021 Programme has been shortlisted in the 2022 Planning Awards’ best use of heritage in placemaking category. The initiative being delivered by Historic Coventry Trust in partnership with Coventry City Council has accelerated plans to restore the city’s heritage to celebrate the year as UK City of Culture.
The programme will be competing against individual projects at Rugby Radio Station, Battersea Power Station and the Horlicks Quarter in Slough at the awards ceremony which will take place at the Mermaid Theatre in London on Thursday, June 9.
The Historic Coventry 2021 Programme for the Planning Awards focuses on a series of restoration projects which were completed in 2021/22.
- The restoration of Burges and Hales Street as the Government’s national demonstrator project for its High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme
- The Grade I listed and Scheduled Monument at The Charterhouse which includes some of the most important medieval and Elizabethan art in the country, 400m of monastic walls, coach house and extensive gardens
- The two remaining city gates and surviving section of city wall dating from 1385-1440
- Joseph Paxton’s Arboretum Cemetery at London Road which opened in 1847 and is one of the top five cemeteries in the UK which is listed Grade I as well as the restoration of the Grade II listed Anglican Chapel
- The timber-framed Lychgate Cottages in Priory Row dating from 1415 and the only remaining buildings from the Benedictine cathedral precinct of St Mary (Grade II*)
- The Guild Hall of the Coventry Drapers, the city’s finest Regency building, built as performance rooms from 1832 onwards with remarkably intact original interiors (Grade II*)
Ian Harrabin, chairman of Historic Coventry Trust, said it was wonderful to be shortlisted for the national awards for reuse of heritage, which reflected recognition that these largely forgotten buildings have such an important part to play in the city’s economy.
He said: “The trust was initially set up to restore Charterhouse, but we recognised that there was so much more that could be done to capitalise on UK City of Culture and boost the visitor economy.
“This is an extraordinary programme of restoration and reinvention with the partnership delivering multiple projects at the same time and raising over £28 million in funding.
“Historic Coventry Trust has been creative in bringing new use to old buildings, with a balance of income generating properties sustaining those with a more social or community focus.
“The High Street Demonstrator project at The Burges has totally transformed 21 retail properties in this run-down medieval street on the edge of the city centre and has sparked planned private investment on two adjoining sites of £15 million, creating 80 flats.
“Drapers’ Hall has been restored as the home for music education for schoolchildren with an outstanding music performance, and community and business venue operated by Historic Coventry Trust.
“Together The Charterhouse and Cemetery will be an exceptional visitor attraction to boost the tourist economy but will also create an outstanding community resource with 70 acres of woodland, wetland, parks and gardens and a new restaurant and café will bring Michelin-star dining to the city. The chapel is multi-use from community events to music performances and film screenings.
“The Gates and Cottages are special visitor accommodation to boost the high-end visitor economy and changing image of Coventry.
“Our entrepreneurial model is seen as a partnership blueprint for how heritage charities can play their part in the re-imagining of places, and the programme was recently cited as best practice in the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper.”
The award citation states: “This is an extraordinary programme of restoration and reinvention, with delivery of multiple projects in parallel to capitalise on the spotlight of UK City of Culture. Led by Historic Coventry Trust, an energetic and entrepreneurial charity that 3 years ago had no paid staff, in real and close partnership with the council and Governmental bodies. The Trust’s model is seen as a partnership blueprint for how heritage charities can play their part in the reimagining of place. The programme was recently cited as best practice in the Levelling Up White Paper and its replication forms part of WMCA Mayor’s manifesto.”