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Members only please

June 2014

a £3 million plan to uncover Coventry’s hidden river—largely rafted over as it flows under the city’s modern shopping centre. We were delighted. Civic Day is now in the final preparation and the Society sees it as a launch pad to see a series of good works take place along the whole of the Sherbourne Valley catchment. While volunteers will start a clean-up on the fields at Charterhouse, the Society will mount a picture display in the Priory. Member, Chris Daniel will be presenting the story of the Sherbourne on the big screen—a Powerpoint sequence put together by Colin Walker. We expect to see other displays featuring ideas and a vision for the river’s future and Charterhouse Preservation Trust’s plans for a proposed Heritage Trail. On the day itself a pilgrimage by the Sherbourne Trust along the route of the river will finish at Many months ago the Society decided to focus on Coventry’s forgotten river—the Sherbourne and promote it as a natural the Charterhouse. The Little Vintage Cake Company will be on hand all day offering teas and delicious home-baked cakes to asset for the city on this year’s national Civic Day. visitors and workers. In March a meeting convened by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust that has headquarters at Brandon Marsh, a number of The Civic Day event at Charterhouse and on the fields nearby organisations were brought together to form a partnership that takes place on June 21 and runs from 10am until 4.30pm. would improve the fortunes of our watercourse, a tributary of There are further details on our website: www.coventrysociety.org.uk and information about the the River Sowe. Coincidentally a report came out in the same month declaring— pilgrimage walk on www.sherbournetrust.net

Warwick District Council produced a Planning and Design Brief for the station area in Leamington Spa’s old town. Another was produced when it sought to dispose of land in its ownership at Saltisford, Warwick. It’s hard to imagine any town or city missing the opportunity to issue briefs for significant locations that require careful, sympathetic design. Citing one example in our central area that deserves to have a design brief is the area around the Whitefriar’s Gatehouse. Other

streets that come to mind are Cox Street, Whitefriar’s Street, Much Park Street (pictured left in the 1960s), Bishop Street (pictured below right), Hertford Precinct and Queen Victoria Road. The publication Planning and Development Briefs: A Guide to Better Practice, published in 1998. Here’s an extract: “Briefs are site-specific documents which inform developers and other interested parties of the constraints and opportunities presented by a site, and give guidance on the type of development expected or encouraged by the local authority. The briefing process provides the framework for the consideration and resolution of site specific issues, and allows interested actors to become involved in the debate about the future of a site.” For years the Society has campaigned to improve the quality of our city. Clearly one important element is to have streets

with active frontages rather than the all too common faceless block. As the 1998 document indicates: “Planning briefs, through their role of interpreting development plan policy, can influence the design of a site. Where the planning brief is prepared by suitably qualified and skilled people, it can focus developers' attention on the unique characteristics of the site and improve the quality of development.” Coventry really should commission a planning brief for each major development area.

More news and views on our website: www.coventrysociety.org.uk


We are disappointed to learn that Morris Homes, who will be building the latest phase of housing, has indicated its wish to demolish Copsewood Grange and its Lodge on Binley Road. After considerable efforts on our part to have a change of use of land surrounding the Grange from commercial to residential and see the two historic buildings restored and re-used, the current state of play is outrageous.

The Council is adament that the original agreement should be honoured and we understand an Article 4 directive has been served on Morris Homes. This will ensure the company will need to have formal permission to demolish. At the appropriate time we shall object. In the meantime we shall use the media to bring it to the public’s attention.

We are delighted to see that planning permission has been granted at last for the restoration and imaginative development of the Old Hall in Keresley. In the latest plan there are banqueting facilities, a restored and enlarged hotel with 50 bedrooms, a gymnasium and ladies boutique. Clearly the owners KEP Development have made a better job of consulting. We had the opportunity to be talked through the plans in detail by the company’s architects. The Old Hall on Tamworth Road is a country house dating from early Victorian times.

UKIP is opposed to HS2 and now a force to be reckoned with. The alternative HSUK plan will be put to them. Lib Dems need a pick -me-up. What better than "We were the first major party to advocate a high speed railway but we were not responsible for the current poor plan. And now we have a much better plan than the Conservatives and Labour put forward". Conservatives are firmly committed to HS2 despite vociferous opposition from some of their MP's. Labour has to please its supporters in the few cities that would benefit from HS2, not realising they could please a lot more people by adopting an altogether better plan. The Greens oppose HS2 because it offers no CO2 reduction. They may buy into HSUK which offers substantial CO2 reductions. Parliament has decreed that HS2 will go ahead, damaging Coventry and other by-passed cities. Only the ballot box can bring them to their senses. P.S. the long-awaited rerouting of the south-coast to Newcastle Cross Country service via Coventry and International will happen soon. But it will not stop in Coventry. Does the Dept for Transport have something against Coventry?

Ernesford Grange Secondary school is currently being rebuilt. A school governor recently told the Friends of Sowe Valley the school was proposing to fence the playing field beside the river. This would cut the Sowe Valley footpath that runs for eight miles through Coventry. Locals say the field is used more by the public than by the school, not surprising given that it's often flooded in term time, but not used by the school through the summer holidays. The Friends of Sowe Valley are seeking a solution agreeable to all.

Drapers’ Hall was the venue for The Institute of Impossibility, described as an immersive adventure with peculiar characters. It was part of the programme of updated Mysteries. Paul Maddocks was involved in some of the design work and is pictured with one of the set pieces

We were well looked after at our May meeting when members visited the Ramgarhia Sikh Gurdwara. Sikh men and women cover their heads at all times as an expression of respect to their Gurus. In accordance with Sikhism we were given light refreshments before entering the Prayer Hall.

We have previously expressed concern about updated PFI lighting in conservation areas and await early discussions with the City Council and Balfour Beaty. Of particular concern at the moment is the impending replacement of lighting along an historic approach to the city - Kenilworth Road.

Contacts Postal address: 77 Craven Street, Coventry CV5 8DT Chairman’s tel: 024 7640 2030 Planning permission for a new 700 Email: info@coventrysociety.org.uk pupil three storey secondary school for If Twitter is your thing, you can follow us at https://twitter.com/#!/CovSoc girls, on the former Coventry & We also have our own page on Facebook. Warwickshire hospital site has been You can also follow us there at lodged by Tauheedul Education, a http://www.facebook.com/CoventrySociety not-for-profit organisation.

40 june 2014  

Newsletter of the Coventry Society, June 2014.

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