The Changing Face of Coventry

Since the 1950s Coventry has been developing parts of the city. It began with the re-building of the centre including the Cathedral after the Blitz. The redevelopment and regeneration is continuing still, sixty years on. The latest plans, City Centre South, are for a £300 million regeneration project in which a large part of the city centre is to be redeveloped.

In February, plans for the new development were being submitted for planning permission with a decision to be made by Autumn 2012. This regeneration attempt would include; Bull Yard, Shelton Square, City Arcade, Barracks car park and Hertford Street. The regeneration would also focus on the market area. Andy Mclain, a sweet stall owner in Coventry Market thinks it’s possible the regeneration will improve Coventry and: “Hopefully it will make it (Coventry Market) busier, attract more people from Birmingham and other places like that.”

Written by Nick Ekkeshis and Alex Maidment

The ideology behind the project is about boosting Coventry’s retail and commercial ranking from a current 49th position, which is relatively low in comparison to smaller cities within the UK. The plans are also designed to increase the quality of life and work for those who live in the 11th largest city in the UK. Lisa Hollins, a local businesswoman working in the city centre described the city as in need of a “massive face lift”. She is in favour of the redevelopment regardless of whether it will force her to shut down her own business claiming “Coventry needs it”.

In contrast, not everyone is supportive of the redevelopment. A senior technician in a local computing store within the City Arcade described how the plans were too radical and would force out local businesses. He claimed that the council “have no plans so far to support local businesses – as far as I know they won’t relocate small businesses once their lease is up because they want to attract larger companies”.

In June, the council approved the outline plan and are now in talks with the ‘big six’ developers who were responsible for the Bull Ring in Birmingham.

The regeneration plans include shopping space, business space, living space, and a cinema complex. Artist impressions of what the city could look like can be found on the Coventry City Council website along with the plans for the regeneration. The council were unavailable to comment.

The plans can be found here: City Centre South Regeneration Plan

 

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