Coventry Heritage at Risk

Three Conservation Areas and 20 other historic sites in Coventry have been designated by Historic England as being “At Risk* in the latest Heritage at Risk Register.

Historic England published the most recent Heritage at Risk Register on 15 October 2020. The Register identifies sites most ‘at risk’ of being lost as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

This year the register is published in map form online and can be inspected at:

https://englishheritage.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=5fced27775b44238beb524338e62e9d3

In Coventry the sites “at risk” are:

The City Wall – ten lengths of the city wall, which is scheduled as an ancient monument, are defined as remaining “at risk”. The remains of Coventry City walls include several lengths of C14 city defences. Historic England funded a conservation management plan for the walls in 2010 which the City Council is now in the process of implementing. A Historic England Heritage at Risk Repair Grant was accepted in 2016 to address assorted building fabric repairs in various locations including both Swanswell and Cook Street gatehouses and the connecting length of wall between them. Repair works have now commenced on three separate sections of the wall and these were due for completion in July 2020.

Cook Street Gate – The construction of this gate began in the early C14 and was completed later that century following a licence to crenellate in 1363. Inappropriate historic repairs, vulnerability to vehicle damage and stone erosion are all issues. A Historic England Heritage at Risk Repair Grant was accepted in 2016 to address assorted external building fabric defects: repair works have commenced and were due to finish in July 2020. A scheme by the Historic Coventry Trust to convert the upper room into self-contained visitor accommodation is due to follow on once external repairs are completed.

The gate is also a scheduled ancient monument and is designated as being in “Poor Condition”, with a repair scheme in progress a new use agreed but not yet implemented.

Cook Street Gate

Holy Trinity Church – This large medieval parish church in the centre of Coventry has a high crossing tower with spire, a chancel with aisles and chapels, transepts, a nave with aisles and a north west chapel. Built primarily in red sandstone with shallow pitched roofs behind crenellated parapets, the lead roof coverings to the Archdeacon’s Court and the north transept roofs have reached the end of their life and are in urgent need of renewal. A National Lottery Heritage Fund Grant for Places of Worship was awarded in 2017 to assist repairs and re-roofing works were completed in August 2019.

Holy Trinity Church

Whitefriars Gate, Much Park Street – This C14 postern gatehouse of the Carmelite Friary has a clay tile roof and sandstone walls with later repairs in brickwork. The building was subject to heritage crime in 2008 and later repaired: it has remained vacant since then and is slowly deteriorating. The continuing threat of heritage crime, assorted masonry repairs and renewal of defective floor timbers above the archway are all issues to be addressed. The current proposal by the Historic Coventry Trust is to convert the gatehouse for use as holiday accommodation, in line with the framework agreement with Coventry City Council. The building is defined as being in poor condition.

Church of St John the Baptist, Fleet Street – The church of St John the Baptist is located at the head of Spon Street in the city centre. Built in the mid-C14, it was a collegiate church and is largely Perpendicular in appearance with a crossing tower, transepts, clerestories to nave and chancel and aisles. Changes of plan are visible in several places together with alterations to the fabric. The red sandstone used in its construction is of variable quality and its repair and maintenance is an on-going issue, in particular, the condition of the nave clerestory. Transept roof coverings will shortly require renewal due to material failure. The building is listed Grade I and its condition is defined as “Poor” with “Slow decay; no solution agreed”.

St. John the Baptist Church

Church of St Mark and boundary walls to Stoney Stanton Lane and Bird Street – The Grade II listed St Mark’s was built in 1869 and consists of a clerestoried nave with aisles, a chancel, north porch and south vestry: the west end of the north aisle also has a tall bell-cote. Following closure in 1973, the church was internally remodelled and converted to a hospital outpatient’s department. Now relicensed and re-ordered for public worship, it has a catalogue of building fabric defects that require urgent attention including reroofing works, the renewal of rainwater goods, drainage and assorted high level masonry repairs. Its condition is defined as “Poor”.

St. Mark’s Church

Lady Herbert’s Garden Conservation Area. The condition of this conservation area is described as “Very bad” with the trend being “Deteriorating significantly”. The Conservation Area has nine listed buildings, a Grade II Registered Park and Garden and two scheduled ancient monuments.

Naul’s Mill Conservation Area – The condition is described as “Poor” and the trend is “Deteriorating”. The Conservation Area includes two listed buildings.

Stoney Road Allotments – A group of mid and late C19 detached urban pleasure gardens retaining a nationally significant group of C19 and early C20 summerhouses and associated structures. The site is still actively used as allotments and tenanted by the Stoney Road Gardens Association (SRGA). The summer houses are the principal elements at risk, and have not been maintained since listing in 2001. A conservation management plan has been produced (2018) for the gardens but not yet formally adopted. The SRGA are currently preparing a grant application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund to repair the summerhouse.

The site is a Registered Park and Garden grade II*. It includes five listed buildings. Its condition is described as “Generally unsatisfactory with major localised problems”, the vulnerability is “Medium” and the trend is “Declining”.

Listed Garden Shed at Stoney Road Gardens

London Road Conservation Area

The condition of the conservation area is described as “Very bad” and the trend is “Improving”. The Conservation Area includes 10 listed buildings, a Registered Park and Garden grade I, part in a scheduled ancient monument.

Nonconformist Chapel, London Road Cemetery. The Grade II* listed chapel dates to 1846-47 and was probably by GH Stokes, at the southern end of the mid-C19 cemetery, landscaped by Joseph Paxton in an informal style. The building is disused and in a vulnerable condition. The Historic Coventry Trust has plans for the cemetery to become part of a Heritage Park and their options appraisal, completed as part of this proposal, identified alternative uses for the chapel. The current proposal is to convert the building to an office, in line with the framework agreement with Coventry City Council, once a project timetable has been agreed. The condition is defined as “Fair”.

The Charterhouse Founded as a Carthusian Monastery dedicated to St Anne, the surviving Grade I listed building and scheduled ancient monument is a mixture of stone, brick and timber frame construction incorporating centuries of change and adaptation. Wall paintings survive from the C15 and C16. Areas of structural instability need to be addressed as does water ingress: the clay tile roof covering is in very poor condition. Now in the ownership of the Historic Coventry Trust, the building is part of a major regeneration project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England grants and is due to be completed at the end of 2020. The condition is defined as “Poor” but the restoration scheme is acknowledged.

Recent restoration work on the Charterhouse

Basement on site of Old Star Inn, Earl Street – Late medieval cellar of an inn now incorporated in the Civic Centre. Significant erosion of the sandstone took place as a result of water damage. The stone vault was propped in 2008 and damaged stonework repaired. The buildings above (with the exception of the recently listed former architects’ offices) have consent for demolition. A scheme for new buildings incorporating the listed buildings is under discussion. The cellar is a Listed Building grade II*. The condition is defined as “Fair” with slow decay and a solution agreed but not yet implemented.

Allesley Castle – a motte castle close to Allesley Hall. The condition of this archaeological site is described as “Generally unsatisfactory with major localised problems” with deterioration and “in need of management”. The trend is “Declining”.

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