6th Dec, 2016

Another major Coventry city centre car park set for students' use

Coventry Editorial 9th Feb, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

ANOTHER major Coventry city centre car park is set to be handed over for students’ use.

The Belgrade Plaza multi-storey 1100-space car park off the ring road, former called Leigh Mills car park, is to be handed over to Coventry University.

It follows news last week that the Cox Street car park opposite Coventry sports centre and swimming pool is also to be predominantly used for students in future.

Coventry City Council’s ruling Labour cabinet is expected later today (Tuesday February 9) to approve altering the terms of the ground lease with Oakmoor Deeley Partnership (ODP), the leaseholders of the Belgrade Plaza site, next to Belgrade Theatre.

The site has long been earmarked for student accommodation in addition to restaurants and hotels.

The new terms of the lease would see Coventry University acquire the vast majority of spaces in the award-winning car park often used by theatre goers.

Council officers say the car park is under-used, with 900 spaces regularly unoccupied. Several businesses nearby have closed or moved in recent years.

Around 350 spaces would be retained for public use.

The council says it will receive an undisclosed capital payment – to be approved by councillors in private – and additional business rates.

Some of the land will also transfer to the Downing Group for its mixed-used development comprising residential flats, student housing and another hotel, subject to council planning permission.

Proposals for student accommodation six years ago fell through after objections from nearby businesses and elderly neighbours living in adjacent almshouses seeking a peaceful retirement.

Previous development proposals were also hit by the credit crunch, and ambitions for a Radisson hotel, cafe/bar and residential apartments stalled.

A council officers’ report to councillors today says of the former plans for a prestigious three or four-star hotel, states: “Having marketed this site extensively ODP have been unable to secure any credible interest from appropriate operators.”

The new scheme is scheduled for completion by September 2017, and agreement is now sought from the council to vary the ground lease as part of the scheme’s revised business plan.

Of the car park plan, it states: “Coventry University (CU) has a long-standing requirement for an additional multi-storey car park.

“Terms have been agreed between ODP and CU whereby CU will acquire the long leasehold interest in the car park and operate the car park themselves.

“The car park would be predominantly made available to staff and students but 350 spaces would remain available to the general public at all times on comparable terms to those available on other council car parks.”

Under the current lease, ODP operates it as a public car park.

Coventry University is expanding and will take over council buildings when the council moves its office headquarters to the Friargate development around Coventry railway station.