A Coventry Society initiative reached a momentous stage on November 20 when the trustees of the Charterhouse Preservation Trust were handed the keys to the ancient building by the deputy Lord Mayor. The landmark event took place in the Belgrade foyer and more than 120 people gathered to see the keys handed over. The legal documents placing the Charterhouse in the ownership of the Trust were signed earlier that day. So the stage is set for the next phase of life for the 631 year old building, the foundation stone having been laid all those years ago by King Richard II. Next meeting Ian Harrabin, Chair of the Trust, told the gathering: “There has been a tremendous amount of work done by a great many people to reach this stage – but in many ways this is just the start. All the authorities involved, local people and my fellow trustees have all been really supportive. I am not saying it has been easy to get to this presented by Ben Flippance stage, but we have made it, and that is from idPartnerships an important milestone.” Monday, December 10, 2012 Ian Lush of the Architectural Heritage Fund described the building as one of the (7.30pm) finest in Britain. at The Shop Front Theatre, Pictured left: Gary Crookes, deputy Lord City Arcade (street parking nearby) Mayor with the keys flanked by Susan All welcome Davies of Santander Bank and Ian Lush. Behind are Stuart Daniel, John Ruddick, Free to members Ian Harrabin and David Tittle who are all £1 to non‐members trustees.
The Regeneration of a market town centre
The Society welcomes a proposal to develop the former City Engineers Depot off Foleshill Road but is disappointed at the lack of vision in the indicative layout and illustrative building designs. We fear that presented in this way developers will be encouraged to submit a volume house builder type approach instead of an architect led design the site needs. Supporting documents acknowledge the need for a high quality design and note the poor environment created by volume housebuilders at the nearby Draper’s Field. However we fear that the development process, as currently set out, may deliver a similar result. The Society would like to know why the opportunity to develop a second canal basin has not been considered. We recognise that
Christmas Cards The Society is once again selling Christmas cards with seasonal images of Coventry. They are available at The Tourist Information Centre in the Cathedral Ruins or at our December meeting.
the site levels may require a lock at the entrance, but that could add to the attractiveness of the site. The creation of a canal basin would perhaps create the foundation for other uses such as ho‐ tels, bars and restaurants. We are also disappointed that the scheme does not extend south to include the Engineers car park. This would have enabled the length of Foleshill Road and the canal as far as the canal basin to be treated together to make a proper “gateway” to the city centre. We note that the application is deficient in not identifying this land as within the applicant’s ownership. We are unhappy about the community involvement. The planning application was not included in the weekly list of applications and we only found it by chance. There was no involvement through Ward Forums and no other public meetings or engagement. Surely a site of this importance merits a proper city‐wide engagement process. Of course as this is a council led application it is not too late to implement a proper community design process. The Society would be happy to be involved and subject to negotiation we would also be happy to lead it. A site of this importance surely merits a proper design brief that has been subject to full community involvement. Our recommendation is that the application is deferred pending a proper community engagement process and the development of a different design brief.
Reminder The pre‐Christmas Ghost Walk takes place on Saturday, December 15 starting at 6.30 in Spon Street and lasts two hours. Costs £8, seniors £6. Telephone 07788 581539
At the Society’s November meeting Colin Knight, Coventry City Council's Assistant Director of Planning, Transport and Highways, reviewed plans for the City Centre. He explained how the central area had seen one of the biggest changes for a long time. The
clearing away of buses and taxis, and remnants of the old Garden Island in Broadgate was a bold plan. The walkway from the train station to the city centre is now a pleasant footpath on the same level all the way through Greyfriars Green into Hertford Street. He also described de‐cluttering of central streets, taking out unwanted signs, fences, traffic lights, and the effects on shared spaces. This had all been achieved in record time for the Olympics. On time and on budget. In the second part of his presentation, phase two of City Centre development was explained. This included future improvement for Fairfax Street / White Street, New Union Street, Corporation Street and Queen Victoria Road. Other areas that need urgent attention include undeveloped sites that could be transformed into green areas albeit on a temporary basis. The meeting was also pleased to know that additional cycle paths will play a big part in the city and cyclists themselves are now part of a focus group that will contribute to the new plans.
A notice posted on the front door of the Black Horse pub in Spon End indicates that The Society has updated its website and another historic pub is under threat of demolition. Christchurch Property Company Ltd we would like to have your feedback. who bought the landmark heritage building from Punch Taverns has applied to Coventry The web address is still the same City Council to demolish the pub in the next couple of months. We understand that the www.coventrysociety.org.uk and if you owner intends to rent the land to the Nissan Car dealer next door as a car park. have got a smart phone you can go The Black Horse was built in the 18th century and rebuilt in the 19th century and is a rare there directly by using the QR code example of a Victoria pub. However problems have persisted over the last few years with below. changes in management and the generally tough trading conditions in the pub trade. The new website is easier to read than Delving farther back into the history of the site the medieval manor house of Sponna was the old one and brings back the old Coventry Corporation colours of cream here in 1253. It’s hard to believe that such an historic site might become a car park! Listing should have provided the protection it deserves and sometime ago it was and claret. We have new pages for designated a Grade II listed building. Punch Taverns appealed to have the listing removed planning applications and a page for because it was thought to be making the property hard to sell. English Heritage duly each of the city's neighbourhoods. You obliged! can also download the society's The Black Horse is still locally listed preventing demolition without notifying the council. newsletters from the site as well as see The notice posted is dated November 22 and states that demolition is proposed to take the latest society news. The site is place a month from that date. The public has until the December 13 to make objections. designed to be more interactive than the old site, so we hope that you will A decision could be made as early as December 18. If you go to the city council planning portal you will find the application with all of the relevant documents, including take advantage of this and let us know the site notice that is fixed to the door of the pub. what you think.
At our meeting in November, Colin Knight, the City Council’s Assistant Director of Planning, Transport and Highways told us that the Council has now had the go‐ahead for the “Heatline” project. The project will take the waste heat from the Waste Reduction Unit at Whitley and bring it into the city centre to provide lower cost heating to council buildings, the Herbert Art Gallery and Coventry Cathedral. The council has awarded the contract to a company called Cofely District Heating and it is expected that the system will be up and running by September 2013. The firm will buy heat from the incinerator and use a series of underground pipes to pump it to the city centre, where it will then sell the energy back to the city council and other partners at, the council says, a “highly competitive rate”. Cofely has received £2.3 million for the installation of the infrastructure from the government’s Homes and Communities Agency. It has been estimated that when expanded to its maximum reach, the Heatline project could cut the council’s carbon footprint by 40 per cent, and could save the council £85,000 a year on its energy bills, as well as avoiding carbon taxes and generating income by selling heat supplies to others. There is an opportunity to extend the scheme to Coventry University and other building in the future.
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The December 2012 edition of the Coventry Society newsletter