THE HISTORIC Coventry Cross monument is set to be relocated to a position closer to the cathedral quarter after an 830-name petition prompted a council rethink.
Cabinet member for jobs and regeneration Jim O’Boyle said he was compromising on the location due to concerns the cross would be ripped from its home in Trinity Square behind Holy Trinity Church in the cathedral quarter and placed in an inappropriate setting.
As we have reported, the original plans proposed moving the cross to a new position behind Primark, opposite Greggs, in Ironmonger Row.
Coun O’Boyle said today he is now proposing the 1976 replica of the 14th century landmark should be positioned opposite the road from Holy Trinity Church.
He also said the petition – put forward by conservation organisation the Coventry Society – would be considered at a planning committee meeting today at 2pm, amid accusations it would be ignored from a planning application being resubmitted.
The plan is to move the cross – at a cost of at least £150,000 to city taxpayers – to make way for expansion plans for Cathedral Lanes and its new restaurants.
He said: “We wanted to have the Coventry Cross – as people know it – as close to its original location as possible.
“I accept that Ironmonger Row isn’t the best location.
“But we want to use the best of the old with the best of the new.
“It has never been our intention just to knock the damned thing down.
“The original planning application wasn’t adequate for what we wanted to do and clearly a council officer didn’t do their job very well, so that was withdrawn.”
Coun O’Boyle says a further planning application will be submitted on top of the one put forward by Shearer Property Group. But only the Shearer application will be considered this afternoon.
The new application will cover the altered position and the potential use of part of the remains of the original Coventry Cross – belonging to the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum – in the relocated monument, which will have to be reassembled once moved from its current position.
Opponents claim the total bill will be far more than £150,000.
Earlier in the week, the Coventry Society’s Keith Draper said: “What exactly has been going on behind the scenes to make every effort to filibuster our councillors into voting for a proposal that will see the city’s Cathedral Quarter profoundly harmed?
“These are extreme efforts to ride roughshod over public opinion giving a commercial operator free reign to do precisely what they like.
“Looks like our heritage sites are up for sale at the right price. To hell with the will of the people.”