Misinformation – The Word of the Year

CoventryCross_darkskies

Dictionary.com defines misinformation as “false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead.” We have seen it raise its ugly head around the world, even close to home especially this year. To what are we specifically referring?

Recent planning applications to demolish the Coventry Cross and greatly change our Upper Precinct and Broadgate, are but two prime examples.

We tried hard to persuade Coventry City Council that the plans put forward by a London developer would dramatically harm our precious heritage but we didn’t stand a chance.

The Coventry Cross
As if our planners worked for the new restaurant in Cathedral Lanes, demolition and re-siting was passed without batting an eyelid. Council’s report claimed: Historic England had no objection—false claim; the plan would provide a better link between Broadgate and the Cathedral Quarter—false claim; the scheme will not create any significant impact upon the character and setting of the conservation area and surrounding listed buildings—false claim.

The Upper Precinct and Broadgate
The over-riding of Listing of one of our city’s most distinguished post-war heritage assets, with the developer allowed to rule the roost. The Council’s report claimed: Historic England had no objection –false claim; the alterations will better reflect the Donald Gibson design– false claim; changes will restore the views to the Cathedral Spire—false claim.

The use of these sort of statements to win the support of the planning committee devalues the democratic process. Forcing proposals through on a false premise goes against all the principles of good local government. What hope is there for the City Centre South Plan, future of the Canal Basin and Spon Street? The rest is dominated by high rise student accommodation. Not a happy picture for the city that so many of us love.

Keith Draper

4 thoughts on “Misinformation – The Word of the Year

  1. Weasel words. It s a shame that The Herbert would not confirm to the press that they had firmly told Mr O’Boyle that he could not remove the fragile 14th century sculpture and install it where it would be exposed to the elements. Everyone knows that O’Boyle is a bully and The Herbert know that their funding will end in 2021but not exposing his public lies does them no credit at all.

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    1. To quote from the second of the links below, the view of Historic England seem fairly clear

      “The loss [of the Cross] will inevitably have a detrimental impact on the adjoining listed buildings (through changes to their setting) and to the character of the Conservation Area. The existing terraces are a little tired and heavy handed in design terms but the proposals do not offer any improvement, indeed they seem to form a greater barrier.

      The total demolition of the cross will cause substantial harm to the undesignated heritage asset. The Design and Access Statement says that it will be re-erected, but then makes it clear that that work will be undertaken by the Council rather than by the developer. There is no mention in the application of the method of demolition or the proposed storage pending re-erection”.

      So the question arises, what are we to do to hold our decision makers to account on this? Letters to Councilor O’Boyle; an article in the Coventry Telegraph? A letter of complaint to the Leader of the Council and the Chief Exec (as this is arguably more a indictment of the planning committee that the councillors), or something more significant?

      If there has been a categorical distortion of testimony here, there are options to complain to the Planning Inspectorate and then the Ombudsman:

      https://www.lgo.org.uk/make-a-complaint/fact-sheets/planning-and-building-control/how-your-application-for-planning-permission-is-dealt-with

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