Plans have been published to demolish three characterful buildings in Warwick Road and replace them with a modern concrete office block (see above).
The plans involve the demolition of 23, 25 and 29 Warwick Road. All three of these buildings demonstrably enhance the character of the Greyfriars Green Conservation Area which adjoins the proposed development. They also make a positive contribution in their own right. There is a very good case to be made to say that these buildings are all worthy of local listing and we are convinced that if Coventry had its own Conservation Officer there would be a strong case for extending the boundary of the Conservation Area to include these buildings.
23 Warwick Road is known as Bank House. It is a modern office building designed by architects Twentyman Percy & Partners for Martin’s Bank and the Royal Insurance Group. It was built in 1965. This building is mentioned in a seminal book on Coventry’s mid-20th century architecture – Coventry New Architecture (Lewison & Billingham, 1969), and in the latest Pevsner. The building shows an important contribution to the artistic and architectural redevelopment of Coventry in the post-war period. The high quality of the design and the materials (marble, glass, ashlar limestone panels, etc) is a good example of Coventry’s ground-breaking post-war reconstruction.
25 Warwick Road, (formerly known as Clive House and prior to that Fernilea), is a late Victorian villa building overlooking Greyfriars Green. It is a handsome double fronted two storey house with bays to either side of a central door. We believe that it makes an important contribution to the character of the area.
29 Warwick Road was formerly known as Avonmore. It is another handsome late Victorian Villa – a double fronted two storey house with bays to either side of a central door. It also makes an important contribution to the character of the area.
The Coventry Society suggests any development in this area needs to consider whether the existing buildings and the space around them can be re-used and adapted.
The Coventry Society is not ‘anti-development’. We agree with Councillor Jim O’Boyle’s quotation “Best of the old, Best of the new”! But this is a key location on the main entrance into the centre of the city and the existing buildings contribute to the sense of place and history.
We challenge the developer’s assertion that views of these buildings are “glimpsed and filtered” from the Conservation Area and that they are “only considered to contribute to the Conservation Area by virtue of their consistent scale and the enclosure they provide to the green and as part of a now fragmented historic townscape”. Their historic nature needs to be considered – their contribution to the historic townscape of this conservation area is considerable.
We request the Planning Committee to give consideration to a sustainable reuse of these buildings, preserving their historic interest and character and the embodied energy of their construction.
You can view the planning application and make online comments here.