Coventry Society Newsletter - December 2018

Page 1

Monday, December 10 at 7.15pm Shopfront Theatre, City Arcade Brian Stote presentation on Christmas Traditions Keith Draper’s Picture Quiz Visitors £2 seasonal refreshments defines misinformation as “false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead.” We have seen it raise its ugly head around the world, even close to home especially this year. To what are we specifically referring? Recent planning applications to demolish the Coventry Cross and greatly change our Upper Precinct and Broadgate, are but two prime examples. We tried hard to persuade Coventry City Council that the plans put forward by a London developer would dramatically harm our precious heritage but we didn’t stand a chance. The Coventry Cross As if our planners worked for the new restaurant in Cathedral Lanes, demolition and re-siting was passed without batting an

December 2018

eyelid. Council’s report claimed: Historic England had no objection—false claim; the plan would provide a better link between Broadgate and the Cathedral Quarter—false claim; the scheme will not create any significant impact upon the character and setting of the conservation area and surrounding listed buildings—false claim. The Upper Precinct and Broadgate The over-riding of Listing of one of our city’s most distinguished post-war heritage assets, with the developer allowed to rule the roost’. The Council’s report claimed: Historic England had no objection –false claim; the alterations will better reflect the Donald Gibson design– false claim; changes will restore the views to the Cathedral Spire—false claim. The use of these sort of statements to win the support of the planning committee devalues the democratic process. Forcing proposals through on false premise goes against all the principles of good local government. What hope is there for the City Centre South Plan, future of the Canal Basin and Spon Street? The rest is dominated by high rise student accommodation. Not a happy picture for the city that so many of us love. Keith Draper

When the Coventry Society was given a new lease of life 14 years ago we started a monthly newsletter for our members. The first publication provided details of the newly announced Belgrade Plaza development by Coventry’s Deeley Properties. It was also the time when Pool Meadow had been isolated from the city centre by Millennium Place and we asked the question ’will the Council change its mind?’ In September we set up shop in Drapers’ Hall for Heritage Weekend and the following month ran the second History Fair in the Panorama Suite of the Rootes Building at the University of Warwick in partnership with Coventry Family History Society. The following year IKEA unveiled plans for its first city centre store. We quizzed directors in the Development Forum at the Council House. Yes, we had forums in those days for significant developments. As some will already be aware we are changing the manner in which we disseminate news to you through ‘Posts from Coventry Society News’. So, after 173 issues this is the last newsletter in the format you have grown accustomed to.

Does anyone remember the city centre Christmas decorations in the sixties? Pictured above is the Lower Precinct in festive mood with a series of illuminated Christmas trees. In those days the neon signs highlighting some of Coventry’s industries from the past were in full working order. Sadly not the case today. If you have any slides of Christmases past that might make a Society Chrismas card in 2019 then please let me have them. KD

More news and views on our website:

At last there seems be a move towards the creation of desirable and creative developments that promote a sense of well-being and collective community spirit rather than the fast-build ethos of the red brick identikit builds. The Royal Institute of British Architects published a paper listing the top ten desirable things people look for when choosing a home. Unsurprisingly location came out top and ’a place that fosters a sense of belonging’ came third. There was more good news in November when Communities Secretary, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP announced the

Location: the idyll for many— a traditional house in a sylvan setting

Park Cottage, 14 East Avenue, Stoke Park, Coventry, was built in 1865, and is thought to be the first house in Stoke Park. It is in an imitation Tudor style,

timber framed with bricks and mortar infilling. Internally, the house has a pine timber frame to which oak panelling and lath and plaster walls are attached. As probably the first house to be built in what is now a conservation area, Park Cottage is understandably of great interest in the Stoke Park / Stoke Green area of Coventry and in the city as a whole. The house has been locally listed by Coventry City Council which underlines its value to the city. It is of a unique construction, built using elements from other properties in

setting up of a commission to champion beautiful buildings as an integral part of the drive to build homes that communities need. The Building Better, Building Beautiful’ Commission will develop a vision and practical measures to help ensure new developments meet the needs and expectations of communities, making them more likely to be welcomed rather than resisted. This move follows the government recently rewriting the planning rulebook to strengthen expectations for design quality and community engagement when planning for development. The new rules also ensure more consideration can be given to the character of the local area. Something the Society has pressed for locally over many years. Now, the commission should raise the level of debate regarding the importance of beauty in the built environment. It has three aims: 1. To promote better design and style of homes, villages, towns and high streets, to reflect what communities want, building on the knowledge and tradition of what they know works for their area. Coventry. We know this from Pugh, R. B. (ed). 1969. Victoria County History: A History of the County of Warwickshire – Volume VIII, which tells us: “The first house on the site (Stoke Park) was Park Cottage, erected by a builder called Malt for his own occupation. It is constructed of old timbers from demolished properties in and around Coventry, and contains carving and panelling from similar sources.” It is believed that elements of Park Cottage in fact came from two buildings of great historical importance: The 13th century, grade I listed All Saints Church in Allesley, and the 14th century St Mary’s Guildhall, in Bayley Lane, Coventry, also grade I listed. More about Park Cottage by Charles Barker on CovSoc’s website.

2. To explore how new settlements can be developed with greater community consent. 3. To make the planning system work in support of better design and style, not against it. ►The planning application for the development of the former Green Belt adjoining Eastern Green has now been submitted. The deadline for comments is December 14. servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet? PKID=799603 …

City estate: town houses on the popular Daimler Estate in Radford

An application has been made to have one of the city’s historic cinemas locally listed. Many will recall it as the Paris, but when it opened in 1912 it was named the Crown. Designed by Coventry architect J.H.Gilbert it had seating for 558. In 1925 it was taken over by Oscar Deutsch (his first cinema) who later built up the Odeon chain in the 1930s. Postal address: By the time BTH sound projectors had 77 Craven Street, Coventry been installed in 1931 the cinema was CV5 8DT Chairman’s tel: 07814327614 owned by a Mr Allen, also owner of the Email: info Prince of Wales. In 1958, in the If Twitter is your thing, follow us at ownership of Major Dent it opened as the!/CovSoc Paris Luxury Continental Cinema. After We also have our own page on several proprietors, by 1999 it had Facebook. become Riley’s American Pool & Snooker You can also follow us there at Club. What a fascinating history worthy of a place on the city’s register.