Page 1

Have your say at the Annual General Meeting on Monday, April 11, 2011 starting 7.30 pm Holy Trinity Centre (Old Bluecoat School), Priory Row An opportunity to present your ideas for our future activities

April 2011

Landmark judgement It’s too late to save The Peacock, The Greyhound and the Hope and Anchor pubs from the bulldozer, but a landmark judgment has just been secured by SAVE Britain’s Heritage that introduces new controls over demolition of buildings and structures under UK planning law. The result of the judgement is to bring, for the first time, all demolitions into the scope of a European Directive (the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive) governing the environmental effects of building projects and other schemes and interventions of the environment. Previously the Secretary of State had maintained that demolition in itself fell outside this directive as it did not constitute a project. This ruling will require the council to subject a scheme for demolition to the rigours of the environmental impact assessment process. William Palin, SAVE’s Secretary says ’this is a crucial judgement which will have far reaching effects on the way that local councils deal with demolitions of all types of building confirms that the interpretation has hitherto been too narrow ...we have been arguing for years that it is absurd that demolition can and does have serious impacts on the environment.’ For us in Coventry this legal ruling will be extremely useful in future. Queens Road is one such example where we can refer to the legal ruling in support of our objection to the wholesale demolition of 17-28 Queens Road (as is proposed).

Scala site countdown The regeneration of Far Gosford Street gathers pace with the near completion of the Scala office development on the site of the old cinema. The building, in the Arts and Crafts style is a three-storey complex to reflect the era of the cinema which was demolished in the sixties. It has been designed by architects IDPartnership and PCPT.

Coventry Society 123 Upper Spon Street, Coventry CV1 3BQ Tel: 07855 113973 Email: Follow us on twitter @covsoc

The first floor has already been let to CWCDA (Coventry and Warwickshire Co-operative Agency) who provide support to the co-operative and voluntary sectors. The offices will be a key element in the Far Gosford Street Regeneration Initiative (Fargo). Ian Harrabin, managing director of Complex Development Projects who have developed the site, said: “It’s not quite finished yet; there are big bronze ‘Scala’ letters to go on the blank render panel. “We also want to do something that records the history of the site and welcome ideas from Coventry Society members.” O Down the street at 38-40 work is also progressing to repair a timber frame. Previous projects have included the restoration of the nearby Hand and Heart public house adjoining another timber-frame property.

Civic Day Along with civic societies all over the country Coventry Society wants to mark the first Civic Day on June 25. Our project: a picture compilation of all the commemorative plaques that have been cast and sited all over the city; they recall people from the past, events, famous landmarks and buildings themselves. And we want to encourage the public to participate before and on the day itself. The Society has already opened an account with Flickr and several plaques are now pictured. But we want to publish many more and members are asked to scour their own photo collection or go out with their camera to get as many sites as possible onto the web. Closer to the day itself we anticipate a number of plaque walks being organised by local organisations. O Coventry should do more to highlight its links with novelist George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), says John Burton from the George Eliot Fellowship. He cites the house in Foleshill Road where she lived from 1841 to 1849. The Fellowship is calling for a plaque to be installed here. The house now used by the Bangladeshi community, has to be an appropriate site and that’s one we endorse enthusiastically.

More news and views on our website:

Broadgate—a personal THE decision to smarten up the city centre in preparation for Coventry’s participation in the 2012 Olympics is extremely welcome news. But a few feathers have already been severely ruffled by the decision not only to give Broadgate a new look but to turn our much maligned square into a grass-free, traffic free plaza - a sort of city centre playground for activities and “events”. The idea is to remove the current lawned areas and cover the entire square with a sandy coloured granite, removing all buses and taxis in the process. The existing trees have already been cut down and the plan is to replace these with new saplings. Buses will be relegated to “drop-off” hubs in Ironmonger Row, behind the Primark store, and it is anticipated that many passengers will have to board their buses at new stops in Corporation Street, or else use the existing facilities at Pool Meadow. Understandably, the bus companies are not happy with the proposal – claiming that it will cause major disruption and confusion for passengers – and it’s not easy to disagree. Those who use buses will be seriously inconvenienced and it’s no more than wishful thinking to believe that Ironmonger Row – where bus stops have recently been removed as part of a major re-design – will suffice as a viable alternative. It will not. More important, though, is the fear that the new proposal will simply suck the existing life out of Broadgate and leave it sadly abandoned as a no-go area at night. At present Broadgate is probably the most lively and vibrant part of Coventry city centre. It has energy and movement, it is busy and chaotic, yet it still retains the capacity to provide a peaceful resting place for those who wish to catch their breath or simply watch the world go by (the seating, beside grassed areas, is excellent and is well used). An essential element of this life and vitality is traffic. Buses and taxis not only provide a practical service to passengers, enabling them to enter and exit before


Copsewood Grange The online petition with 200 signatures needs more supporters to sign up, and at the AGM members and visitors will be encouraged to add their name. A page in SAVE Britain’s Heritage will highlight the situation. We have approved the select demolition of added, flat roof extensions to the Grange and this work is now underway. Tesco Store After considerable opposition from locals and traders on Holyhead Road Tesco’s application was rejected. The company is now appealing against the decision. Moat Building The Society has offered to work in partnership with the Local Authority and Spon Gate School to source potential funding to enable restoration and conversion work to take place on its Victorian Moat Building. With ever increasing pupil numbers we would like to see the building re-used for its original purpose. We didn’t object to the demolition of the caretaker’s house and adjoining canopy.


the city centre with ease, but they also provide a surge of movement and frenetic activity which helps to bring the square alive. Whether it’s people queuing for buses or hailing a taxi, rushing to catch a bus or meeting friends newly arrived, the constant interaction between people and traffic is an essential part of the street scene - constantly drawing more people into Broadgate and ensuring its vitality. The new Broadgate – grass free, no traffic – threatens this life and activity. The idea that current day-to-day activities can somehow be replaced with “events” (a fashionable buzz word for civic planners) is something of a mystery. What type of events do they have in mind? An occasional concert with deafening music, screaming DJs and over-excited school kids, perhaps? Or is it more likely to be even more commercial activity, with Sky Sports and others trying to sell us their satellite systems from huge mobile vans which completely obscure the view of the Lady Godiva statue - one of the few things in Coventry that visitors wish to see clearly for photographs? This is not my idea of a brave new world – nor is it likely to appeal to visitors who descend upon Coventry for the Olympics. Of equal concern here is the impact of the new Broadgate on Coventry at night. We all know that the Precinct and adjoining areas becomes deserted in the evenings once the shops close - making a vast area of the city centre seem like a ghost town at night. There’s a real danger that a new traffic free Broadgate will simply expand this area by making our central square rather lonely, desolate, and vaguely threatening at night. At a time when we really ought to be making greater efforts to expand the evening economy, removing traffic from Broadgate seems to me a backward step, ensuring that visitors to Coventry in 2012 will find only an empty, silent and unsafe square at the heart of our city at night. John Marshall As part of Coventry 2012, signposts and traffic lights from the Fairfax Street /Cox Street junction have already gone, decluttering the area. The road is narrower with pedestrian islands and on-street parking for coaches for use during the Olympic games in the city.

In the picture Following the successful production of cards for Christmas 2010, we are appealing for suitable photographs that the Coventry Society can use for Christmas 2011. We would also like to issue other greetings cards and linked memorabilia at other times of the year. So please submit your images for consideration. > Photographs should cover aspects of Coventry at different times of the year showing various seasons. Those intended for Christmas should be suitably depicted with snow scenes, Christmas decorations etc. > Images should be of Coventry, e.g. buildings [historic and new], landscapes [parks and greens], monuments [statues and fountains] or specific details of anything of interest [perhaps from a quirky angle]. Any relevant image would be considered. > Anyone submitting a photograph agrees to the Coventry Society using the image in any way it chooses. > Any photograph chosen for publication will carry an acknowledgement of the photographer. > It will not be possible to return photographs. If you wish to submit an original painting of a Coventry scene, this would also be considered. A small prize may be awarded for any outstanding images.

01 - April 2011  

More news and views on our website: April 2011 on Monday, April 11, 2011 starting 7.30 pm Holy Trinity Centre (Ol...

01 - April 2011  

More news and views on our website: April 2011 on Monday, April 11, 2011 starting 7.30 pm Holy Trinity Centre (Ol...