Two key sites that have remained in temporary use since World War II in the heart of Coventry’s city centre are set to be transformed into apartments as part of multi-million pound plans.
Complex Development Projects (CDP), the company behind the Coventry Telegraph Hotel which is due to open in October 2020, has submitted planning applications for the two sites. All three projects are on a 300m stretch of Corporation Street, which bounds the main shopping precinct.
Both developments face on to Conservation Areas and the projects are intended to repair the wartime damage, in time for the city’s tenure as UK City of Culture in 2021.
The Well Street proposals face onto The Burges Conservation Area which is being restored by Historic Coventry Trust as part of the Government’s Historic High Streets Programme.
The development will cost £7.5 million and will provide 40 high-quality flats for city centre living. The project also includes 4,500 sq ft of retail and office space on the ground floor and, if planning permission is secured from Coventry City Council, work would begin in spring next year.
The other project completes the terrace of 1950s buildings that includes the Belgrade Theatre.
The new Mid-Century Apartments, designed in 1950s style, are to be built on a site that was designated for a cinema in the post-war plan.
The £3.5 million scheme would provide 14 one and two bedroom apartments facing south-west over newly landscaped gardens with a restaurant and terrace on the ground floor. The project also includes the former Jaguar pub which will be converted for use by the Belgrade Theatre and a further two apartments.
The Mid-Century Apartments and gardens will improve the setting of the Grade I Listed St John’s Church, which is one of the city’s medieval gems that will be boosted by the city’s growing tourist economy. The church was used as a prison for Royalists in the Civil War and is the origin of the phrase ‘Sent to Coventry’.
Ian Harrabin, of CDP, said: “The two schemes are intended to repair the damage of the past and build on the success of The Co-operative development by further revitalising this part of Coventry city centre.
“The Well Street project is designed to provide a transition from the historic Burges area to the new high-rise student schemes to the north – a bridge between old and new.
“The Mid-Century project celebrates the architectural quality of the city’s post-war redevelopment that has largely been overlooked until recently. The Coventry story of a great medieval city, reborn in the 20th Century is unique and a major part of the celebration of the city in 2021.”
Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Coventry City Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration, said: “The development of the city centre after the war was never completed and left us with a few eyesore sites.
“I am very pleased that these two small sites are planned to be developed in a way that enhances some of our most important heritage.
“Now that many of our historic buildings are being restored, it is good to improve their setting, which in places isn’t the best. It’s important that we put on our best face for 2021, when the eyes of the country will be on Coventry.”
Paul Maddocks, Chair of the Coventry Society said “The Coventry Society was consulted on the plans and welcomes the proposed developments, in particular the provision of high quality residential flats. The society welcomes the return of a residential population into the city centre rather than just more students.
“The Society recognises the quality of the design of the mid century apartment buildings as an end to the terrace, in the style of the period but not simply replicating the terrace. It would consequently act as a full stop like the Belgrade as originally intended.
“However the retention of a landscaped area was seen to be very important as there is no other public greenspace in the western part of the city centre. The retention of the park allows distant views of St John’s and Bond’s Hospital along Corporation Street and creates a nice setting for St. John’s church.”