It’s admirable that the proposed National draw up neighbourhood plans, setting out Planning Policy Framework should reduce the sort of development they would like to more than 1,000 pages of regulations to see in their area. However, what if those just 52, yet, according to an increasingly plans instead establish the sort of development local people don’t want to vociferous lobby there appears to be a presumption in those pages that, when it see? Some communities may wish to expand, but many more will want to stay as comes to development the government they are. For planning cases that go to wants to say yes. This appears to be setting it on a collision appeal there will be a presumption that the course with its own policy on localism. Secretary of State will approve the develop‐ The draft NPFF appears to assume that ment. Where is the localism in that? local communities will, in some instances, Any comment please by email.
An important step forward has been taken that will secure the future of Charterhouse for the The next meeting benefit of the people of Coventry. The purposes of The Charterhouse Coventry Preservation Trust, formed at the beginning of The national campaign against HS2 September, will essentially follow pleads: No business case those of the original Wyley No environmental case bequest, the provision of a No money to pay for it museum and park for the benefit Joe Rukin from the Kenilworth‐based of the public. organisation is our speaker on Potentially it will provide a major Monday, September 12 addition to the tourist attractions of the city and will open up a building and gardens of at Old Bluecoat School, Priory Row, national significance that are largely unknown to the general public. Starting 7.30 pm The new Trust is working on funding applications and already has in principle the support Visitors welcome of the Architectural Heritage Fund. Light refreshments Taking the project forward will require the transfer of Charterhouse from the City College to the Trust and the subsequent transfer of charity land from Coventry Council Heritage Open Days in Coventry as trustees. takes place over the weekend of CCPT Trustees appointed are Coventry Society’s Secretary: Stuart Daniel; David Tittle September 10‐11 CEO to MADE; solicitor John Ruddick; Alan Durham, Head of International Trade at It’s part of a national event organised Coventry Chamber of Commerce; Ian Harrabin, MD to Complex Development Projects. in conjunction with English Heritage The board composition clearly provides a good balance between the heritage and celebrates our architecture and community, development expertise, big business and financial and legal probity. culture through giving free access to CovSoc Chairman Keith Draper has agreed to initially co‐ordinate a support group that interesting properties. will work with the Trustees. Once again there will be a History Fair at The Herbert and Coventry Society End Building Preservation Trust have been will showcase some of our work. based on the green space in front of There are 15 sites open to the public Meadow House tower block and opposite Compass Court from 10.00am‐4.30pm each in the city centre, while on the out‐ skirts attractions range from the Lunt One of the highlights available at the day. Roman Fort and Airbase at Baginton Weavers’ House in Upper Spon Street They warped the loom at the Weavers to the churches of Earlsdon and the during Heritage Open Days weekend will be House and brought out small backstrap the work of weaver Travis Meinolf who has looms for children to try at a nearby Walled Garden at Allesley Park. been artist in residence since August Bank nursery. According to a dedicated website A booklet with full details and Holiday. the project has fired the imagination of the opening times is available at information centres and libraries. At the beginning of the project he put community. Visit Coventry Society at The Herbert together the frame of a handloom in the On Heritage Weekend other attractions on Saturday 10‐5; Sunday 11‐4. middle of Spon End. In succeeding days he include the Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, took his weaving skills to local community Pomander making, a Herb Hunt and of Coventry Society groups as well as members of the public on course weaving specifically for children. 123 Upper Spon Street, Coventry CV1 3BQ the streets. The House is open from 10‐4 on both Tel: 07855 113973 Email: email@example.com Travis and some keen volunteers from Spon Saturday and Sunday.
More news and views on our website: www.coventrysociety.org.uk
An appeal has been launched by the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum to raise funds to conserve an exquisite album of watercolours painted in Coventry in 1819‐1820 by the artist William H Brooke. Apparently this previously unknown album is one of the most important single collections of topographical images of historic Coventry, providing new information and perspectives on the buildings and landscapes of the City in the early 1800s. The Herbert has successfully managed to raise enough money to purchase the album and is very grateful to the Friends of the Herbert, the V&A Purchase Grant Fund and all the many local donors for their generosity. With this important album now in the City’s possession we felt it right to donate to the current appeal, and look forward to seeing the pictures on display in the near future.
Safety concerns: After a major crack was discovered on the buttressed corner of the Cathedral Ruins the local authority decided to cordon off the area for safety reasons. This effectively closed the only through route in the Cathedral Quarter. With the prospect of an important year to mark 50 years since the consecration of the Cathedral we can only hope that remedial work will be expedited with some urgency.
last we shall see the first occupants installed very soon. The Ad Hoc model is seen as one that we would like to have adopted across the city. If property guardians had been installed at Copsewood Grange following the vacation of Marconi, would the building have suffered so many arson attacks? If they had been installed at the former Toy Museum or the Watchmakers’ House at Allesley Old Road, would these buildings have suffered arson attacks also? Perhaps not. Ad Hoc is a company that began in the Netherlands and has since expanded throughout Europe. In the UK there is an office in Birmingham that serves the West Midlands area. The concept is simple: traditional means of securing vacant buildings (such as erecting boarding and fencing, installing CCTV, or hiring part time security staff) are expensive and unreliable. Such means were used at Copsewood Grange and Lodge but still Arson: The fire earlier in the year at the Watchmaker’s House, the buildings were subjected to break‐ins, criminal damage and 31 Allesley Old Road picture: Colin Walker arson attacks. The Ad Hoc model works by way of installing a number of carefully selected individuals to live in the vacant The discovery of organisation Ad Hoc last year was seen as a very buildings who provide a continuous presence and deter the practical way to ensure the survival of Coventry’s heritage criminally minded. buildings. We were quick to act, but many months have passed These ‘guardians’ have no formal rights of occupation (in before we achieved our first ambition—the protection of the contrast to a tenant under a lease agreement) and the owner of historic Charterhouse building on London Road. We can now the building therefore retains flexible control over future announce that in partnership with City College Coventry our disposal. Once a longer term solution for the building is committee has achieved a short to mid term means of securing found ‐ such as a sale to a third party or perhaps the receipt of funds to enable a restoration and reuse ‐ the owner is able as of and guarding the vacant site. right, and at short notice, to secure vacant possession of the Grade I listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument, it was transferred by Coventry City Council to City College in 1999 for building. educational and training purposes. Following the expansion of In addition to the presence created by Ad Hoc, the company City College and the development of its Swanswell campus effects basic repairs and maintenance to the building and keeps however, the Charterhouse became surplus to requirements and it heated and ventilated. These works help to prevent rapid deterioration of the fabric of the building which is otherwise a the decision was made to vacate the building in 2010. symptom of vacant sites. Empty buildings are always a cause for concern and sadly, too many have been targeted by vandals and arsonists. The Coventry Society will be hosting a public meeting and We therefore followed up the announcement that City College presentation by Ad Hoc in Autumn 2011 which all are invited to would be vacating Charterhouse and met with them in Autumn attend. We particularly welcome owners of vacant buildings 2010 to suggest the introduction of Ad Hoc. This is a company across the city, including appropriate officers from Coventry City that provides ‘live in’ security at vacant buildings by way of in‐ Council, to come along and hear first hand about Ad Hoc and the stalling what are termed ‘property guardians’. benefits that its work brings to both landowners and the Unfortunately securing the deal has been drawn out and some communities nearby. damage to the building came about over the last months. But at Stuart Daniel
at Old Bluecoat School, Priory Row, Starting 7.30 pm Visitors welcome Light refreshments The national campaign against HS2 pleads: No busine...