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The next meeting at Old Bluecoat School, Priory Row On Monday, May 9 starting at 7.30pm

David Tittle, Chief Executive of MADE, the architecture and built environment centre for the West Midlands, will host an informative talk on this aspect of the Localism Bill which is set to fundamentally change our existing planning law.

May 2011


In many quarters there are doubts over the Big Society and how it will work. Yet there are some good elements that we need to understand. In essence local communities will have a much greater say in how their neighbourhoods are run under new proposals outlined in the Localism Bill. Localism will enable communities to veto excessive Council Tax rises, bid to save assets of community value and to shape their local areas through neighbourhood plans. Clearly the Localism Bill, recently laid before Parliament, aims to strengthen local democracy and give local people the freedom to run their lives and neighbourhoods in their own way. In several areas Coventry Society has a special interest. For instance the 'Right to Challenge' allowing voluntary and community groups to challenge the Council to let them run a specific service themselves. Another is the Community 'Right to Buy' where communities will be able to bid for public or private assets when they come up for sale. This will allow communities to save sites which are important for the community. Another is 'Neighbourhood planning', where the Bill will introduce a new right for communities to shape their local areas. Neighbourhood plans will enable communities to allow development, in full or in outline, without the need for planning applications. The Society needs to understand the implications of the new Bill and for our May meeting David Tittle will explain how neighbourhood planning will work. It will affect us all and we need to be ahead of the game.

Built environment exhibition

Building and civil engineering students at Coventry University will be showing off their imaginative designs this week as part of their end of year degree show project. The exhibition takes place on Friday May 6 at the John Laing Building in Much Park Street. Depending on the course studied, the students were given a brief to come up with a new community centre for Cheylesmore or asked to produce proposals for the University’s new student building ‘The Hub’ which is currently under construction on campus. Steve Austin, senior lecturer in construction at Coventry University, said: “Both groups have been working to specific requirements from a client and as well as designs, they have had to look at the building materials they would use and produce a series of plans as well as posters and models. “The exhibition also includes work by architectural design technology students and civil engineering students who will have poster presentations of their final year design projects and dissertations. “As well as stand-alone models, the students use graphic techniques and text to present the outcome of their research and design.” The work will be on display from 4.30pm on Friday May 6 and is open to anyone with an interest in building design. Coventry Society 123 Upper Spon Street, Coventry CV1 3BQ Tel: 07855 113973 Email:

At the AGM the Chairman reported on a very full year of activity, the Society having fulfilled the tasks it set itself in the spring of 2010. Three items of significance illustrate our progress: a day-long symposium at Coventry University in October had examined ways of preserving and utilising five historic buildings in Coventry [we call them the ‘Big 5’]; the Autumn series of talks on quality architecture had provided much food for thought; and The Society had been consulted on the ‘Coventry 2012’ proposals and though there remained some differences of opinion, believed the City should see positive benefits. Other campaign matters included: Copsewood Grange and negotiations with the developers, Goodmans; we had expressed support for the Friargate development but had concerns for traffic proposals. Summer months saw us visiting Whitefriars, Drapers’ Hall, Foleshill, Willenhall and Stoneleigh Abbey. Other activity included support for Spon Gate School’s attempt to re-use the Moat Building for educational purposes, re-use of Whitley Pumping Station and concern at the Theatre One development. While the Society has concerns for the High Speed Rail project it had elected to campaign through Civic Voice. With so many issues concerning historic buildings and sites the Chairman expressed discontent for the loss of a full-time Conservation Officer. A grant from the Heart of Engl;and Community Foundation had enabled the Society to buy capital items and support some of our activities. Christmas cards had proved very popular in all quarters and their sale had boosted funds.

More news and views on our website:

Allesley Old Road site

Photos please As you will have seen in the last news letter, your committee has invited all members to share any good quality photos it can consider for publication in a new series of society greetings cards. As you will all remember we were successful in selling 450 Christmas cards and this has encouraged the committee to offer other greetings cards all year round, which will feature Coventry scenes in the various seasons. The cards will be usable for almost any occasion such as a birthday, a retirement, a thank you card, a get well card. Any photo’s submitted and ultimately used will be credited to the photographer on the inside cover of the card. It is important that members only submit images that they own the copyright to, in other words photos that you have taken yourself. We will accept images from non-members but we will need a declaration that the images are the property of the sender and that they understand that no royalties will be paid by the society. All profits will be donated to the society. The committee will view all photo’s submitted and make a selection that is felt will be appeal to prospective customers. We are confident we can get the cards stocked in some of the visitor attractions on a sale or return basis. Please don’t be too disappointed if your photo is not used and please don’t be put off from taking part in future photo submissions. Remember this is going to be fun and creative. So come on folks get out there in the beautiful weather we are enjoying and get snapping. If your photo is used you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have raised funds for the society and the pleasure of knowing that your photo is being admired around the world. You will also have helped to project Coventry in a very positive way. You may also know a retailer who may wish to stock these cards on a sale or return basis and contact details will be welcomed. I will be happy to visit any business to talk about terms once the cards have been printed. The picture (top) shows terraced cottages in Greyfriars Lane, but they are long gone and Ford’s Hospital garden now occupies the site. Now there’s a possible image. Please email something suitable to and remember to include when the photo was taken and the location. If you do not have e-mail you can call me on 0794 186 6173 to make arrangements to collect your photos. We want to have the next batch of cards available by mid June so the first closing date for photo submissions is May 15.. Stephen Williamson

A planning application has been submitted by Antelope Property Ltd for redevelopment of the site formerly occupied by a Texaco petrol station in Allesley Old Road. Permission was granted in 2005 for its demolition and erection of three storey apartment blocks but those plans never came to fruition. The latest proposal comes from Coventry based ID Partnership Architects, and shows five dwelling, a retail store with nine apartments over and associated parking. The Planning, Design & Access Statement submitted with the planning application emphasises that the developer has taken into account the historic setting in the Chapelfields Conservation Area. Elements of the existing Victorian and Edwardian buildings—their scale, materials, and architectural detailing—are reflected in the new designs. Yet the buildings will have contemporary features such as a large shop front for the retail store and good energy performance ratings which can be expected of new builds in a carbon footprint conscious age. The plans have so far generally received support from the Chapelfields residents although some concerns have been raised over parking and access. This appears to be a well considered scheme and one that should help the Chapelfields Conservation Area.

It’s a walk over!

Coventry University has taken to the streets this year to advertise the Coventry School of Art and Design annual degree show by using eco-friendly graffiti. Over the past week or so, symbols depicting all disciplines of the arts have started to appear on the city’s pavements to promote the flurry of activity which will be taking place in May and June. The University has enlisted the help of ‘Streetvertise’ a company that promotes events through the means of eco-advertising. There’s a strong Coventry link as the company’s creative director, Paul McKelvie, is a Coventry graduate and the designs that are being used on the pavements were created by another Coventry graduate and University graphic designer, Giles Halton. Even though the degree show is a school of art and design event, other departments have helped to give this year’s show an added boost. The stencils used to create the designs were produced by the Faculty of Engineering and Computing using their state-of-the-art laser cutting equipment. The pavement art can be seen near to the Council House in Earl Street and in the Upper Precinct.

02 - May 2011  

More news and views on our website: The next meeting at Old Bluecoat School, Priory Row On Monday, May 9 starting...

02 - May 2011  

More news and views on our website: The next meeting at Old Bluecoat School, Priory Row On Monday, May 9 starting...