The Coventry Society welcomes the exciting new plans for re-use of the former Ikea store in Croft Road.
The City Council has released reports showing that it is planning to buy back the lease on the property and make the building available for a major arts and cultural facility.
The plan is to re-model the building for use by a variety of national and local arts and cultural organisations. The partners in the project include:
The Arts Council England, who plan to bring together their national collection which is currently housed in three different locations. The site would become a busy new hub for art which will service the rest of the country with exhibition loans.
The British Council which plans to re-home its art collection here.
Culture Coventry Trust plan to put on display more of its heritage vehicle collection, currently in storage elsewhere. They will also bring in the material which is currently stored at the Grade 1 Listed Whitefriars Monastery which will release that building for transfer to the Historic Coventry Trust. Relocating some of the storage at the Herbert will also release space there for more display space.
Coventry University are currently examining the opportunities for creating an arts educational role for the building.
If approved, the multi-million-pound project would become home to some of the country’s greatest works of art and provide greater public access to Coventry’s own cultural and heritage collections. It is hoped this could include partnerships with the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum to show these important national works through curated exhibitions.
Councillor David Welsh, Coventry City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities which covers culture and the arts, said: “This exciting and amazing proposal really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create something Coventry people can be rightly proud of as well as a national and international centre of excellence that will be a lasting legacy from our year as UK City of Culture.
“A national Collections Centre would bring together the foremost national arts and cultural partners and their respective national collections alongside the city’s collections, to create a consolidated national base that would be at the heart of Coventry city centre.
“It would also free-up and create exciting opportunities for the much-loved Whitefriars Monastery that has been closed to the public for too long, while our local teams would benefit from working alongside a national collection management team.”
Re-use of the building will also save millions of tonnes of embedded Carbon, which would otherwise be returned to the atmosphere.
The report is to be considered at Cabinet and Council on 23rd February. The financial aspects are secret at this stage, but it is known that the Council is seeking grant aid towards the conversion costs and will charge rent for the occupiers of the building.
The project is seen by Partners as an expression of their commitment to creating a lasting legacy from City of Culture 2021.