Visit to Lower Coundon including St Osburg’s Church and the Arts Exchange with Pru Poretta (Coventry’s Lady Godiva)
Monday, August 11 Meeting at St Osburg’s, Upper Hill Street At 6.30pm
High Rise: The three towers that pay little or no regard to historic Bishop Street
Family housing: like this modern London mews would provide individual character
Once again the Society provides an opportunity for the public to see the Hans Feibusch mural at St Mark’s Church on Stoney Stanton Road. Feibusch was a German painter and sculptor of Jewish parentage who lived and worked in Britain from 1933 until his death in 1998. After the Nazi party came to power, his life in Germany became impossible, and he emigrated to England. He first exhibited work at the Royal Academy in 1944. The church will open over Heritage Weekend on Saturday and Sunday September 13-14 (10am to 4pm)
Speaking recently about plans for a new high-rise development at Bishop Street, Councillor Kevin Maton, cabinet member for business, enterprise and employment said: “The plan to create new apartments at Bishop Gate fits perfectly with our plans for the city centre as a whole.” A sweeping statement to say the least. As a Society we have concerns about the limited residential offering being put forward as well as the design and scale of the proposed development. In an open letter to Councillor Maton we said: “The Bishop Gate proposals in their current form are said to target the rental market only. Whilst apartments and flats are proposed, it appears that traditional housing and dwellings that would be suitable for families are not. The risk with this approach is that the scheme will create a limited and transient community which comes and goes with the expiry of each rental agreement. The city centre needs to provide quality homes for purchase by couples and families that can become established and create a true community within the city centre that will support ancillary land uses. It could be argued that traditional family homes have no place in the city centre. The Coventry Society disagrees. In market towns like Leamington and Stratford, and in large urban cities like Birmingham, quality homes exist in the central urban areas in the form of 2-3 storey town houses and mews style developments. In Coventry, such a development is currently taking place at Far Gosford Street, where a range of 1 to 4 bedroom properties are being built to accommodate a variety of residences suitable for single persons, young couples and families. The Coventry Society believes this precedent should be followed at Bishop Gate. If we do not achieve a mix of residential units in this location and move instead towards a series of high rise towers for rent, are we not risking a repetition of some of the problems caused by the 1960s high rise developments like those which took place in Hillfields, many of which have since been demolished? ►More Bishop Gate details from the open letter are described overpage
It’s hard to understand why The Sports Centre Trust didn’t apply for lottery grants to rehabilitate Coventry’s iconic Central Swimming Baths years ago. Not only has it been valued as the only Olympic standard pool in the West Midlands, but is Grade II Listed. While the City Council promised openness over the future of providing suitable swimming facilities it would appear there is an unwillingness to disclose figures behind the decision to scrap the 50m pool. According to a spokesperson from Coventry Swimming Club the City Council is claiming 1.3 million visitors to the new site. That’s an unlikely 3,500 per day on every day in the calendar year. On the face of it these figures are estimated to counter any opposition to the Council’s preferred option. As we go to press a meeting of the City Council is considering plans for the New Build Leisure Centre with Water Park in New Union Street. They are based on a Sports Strategy document published in February 2014. In response to concerns raised over the non provision of a 50m pool, consultants Appleyard & Trew are costing a number of further options. Hopefully the authority will properly share the financial modelling before pursuing its preferred option.
More news and views on our website: www.coventrysociety.org.uk
The monthly newsletter of the Coventry Society.