City Centre South – Decision Day

“Heritage assets are a precious thing – and when they’re gone, they’re gone!”

As Coventry’s Planning Committee today decides whether to approve the controversial City Centre South scheme we can share with you the results of our survey of Coventry residents’ views about the scheme.

Our survey was carried out online with support from Civic Voice, the umbrella organisation for civic societies. About 200 people responded to our survey. Although this sample is too small for statistical certainty, it is considerably more than the handful of people who responded to the developer’s consultation and the City Council did not actively consult anyone.

The majority of those participating in the survey supported the improvement of the town centre and only a small minority want no change at all. However 78% of those questioned have reservations about the current scheme.

Specific comments made in relation to the scheme included

  • Respect the heritage
  • More green spaces and greenery
  • More ‘community assets/venues’
  • Invest in public art
  • More affordable housing
  • Better and cheaper parking

The survey results are similar to the submission the Coventry Society made to the Council. We recognise and acknowledge the need to improve the city centre but are concerned about lack of respect of the city’s post-war heritage, the lack of affordable housing, the height of the new buildings and the lack of a home for independent retailers.

Social entrepreneur Alan Denyer has made a last minute plea to the Council for a short “time out” to enable an assessment to be made as to how Bull Yard and the Litten Tree could be retained within the scheme.

Alan says “In March I took on a project to refurbish (at my own cost) 400m2 of disused space on the upper floors of ‘The Litten Tree Building’ (LTB) to create a free facility for exhibitions, displays and performances during Coventry 2021 City of Culture year. Working in the building (which is fascinating – and dates from 1911, when it was originally the prestigious showrooms for the Rover Company) I’ve also had the opportunity to see first-hand how well Bull Yard square works – the architecture is astonishing and captures perfectly the flair of the swinging sixties (most of it was built in ‘66/‘67 – including the grade II listed sculpture that’s on the wall of the old Three Tuns). It’s also really vibrant – and with new cafes, bars – a refit on the way for Central Hall, and (my) LTB culture offering, the area is already shaping up to be a big success.

“The CCS scheme has the LTB and Bull Yard square earmarked for demolition – but with both clearly having great history and ‘one of a kind’ distinctiveness, what I’m calling for is a short time out, to enable an assessment to be made as to how they could be retained within the CCS scheme.

“Heritage assets are a precious thing – and when they’re gone, they’re gone!”

We can only hope that Planning Committee has the perception and vision to make the right decision for our city.

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