26th Jun, 2022

LETTERS: Your discussion about your city from this week's Observer

LETTERS

Firstly, can I thank the Observer for your intelligent and sensitive coverage and campaigning regarding our historic buildings, archaeology, townscape and artefacts.

Our city has been going through considerable change. There is nothing wrong with that but it must not be at the expense of our cultural history from the mediaeval to the post-war rebuilding of Coventry.

We have already lost much to carelessness and the greed of some developers. We have many missing artworks, and what remains of our post-war redevelopment which drew interest from architects and planners from all over the world is severely under threat.

There is a great deal of concern which can be demonstrated by the tens of thousands of supporters of such groups as The Coventry I Remember, True Coventrian, Historic Coventry, and not least The 20th Century Society and The Coventry Society who continue to campaign against bully-boy developers and unelected planners who show little or no concern for the wishes of Coventry people regarding our cultural heritage.

The reinstatement of ‘Trigger’ has been a great success and has brought the issue of our missing artworks ( there are about 8 including an Eric Gill) to the attention of your readers. The George Elliot house campaign is doing the same.

Here is some more good news. Thanks to campaigning by Coventry Society and with the help of the Coventry Conservation Officer, The Naiad, the first post-war commission of art for Coventry and itself an award-winning sculpture by internationally renowned Coventry artist George Wagstaffe, which has been missing for nearly ten years, is currently being repaired and refurbished. It will soon also be back where it belongs in the currently boarded up but Grade 2 listed Earl Street Courtyard.

Many of your readers may not know that student accommodation, including houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) does not attract council tax, business rates or any other form of donation to the city revenue whilst making a tidy profit for the mainly out-of-town developers and adding extra strain on the city resources, the loss to the city has been estimated at over £37 million over the past seven years.

Of course, it has been said that students spent money in the city – but don’t we all. Having said that, this is not the fault of students, they are simply being used as cash cows now.

Significant numbers of HMO conversions are requests for retrospective permission. Ten per cent of all planning applications are retrospective…… and they often get it!

Vincent Hammersley

Upper Eastern Green Lane

Coventry

The Chief Constable of the West Midlands, Mr Dave Thompson, has highlighted the dangers facing Police staff following an appalling attack on a female officer where some of her hair was ripped out.

He said; “Our officers will always do the right thing and routinely put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public, but we need to bring to justice criminals who think that it is okay to abuse and hit out.”

He is absolutely right. We have magnificent Police, Fire and Ambulance Services in the West Midlands. They all deserve respect and protection. I hope that the people of Coventry will support them in any way possible.

Yours faithfully

Cllr. David Skinner (Conservative)

Westwood Ward

Coventry City Council

I am writing to tell you about a new handbook entitled Me and My Brain, that has recently been launched by The Children’s Trust for teenagers affected by brain injury.

Being a teenager can be a difficult time with lots of change and decisions to be made. For teenagers with a brain injury these difficulties can be heightened.

Me and My Brain has been written with the help of young people affected by the condition as well as health professionals who specialise in childhood brain injury. It provides advice and guidance on key topics such as bullying, driving, alcohol and education, alongside real life experiences from teenagers.

The handbook is also recommended for family members, teachers, carers or colleagues, providing a detailed explanation of brain injury and how the disability, which is often described as hidden, can effect young people’s day to day lives.

Me and My Brain is a free resource and can be ordered from www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk/handbook

Every year 40,000 children in the UK are left with a brain injury as a result of an accident or illness and many have to live with ongoing, long-term difficulties. We hope this handbook will be able to help some of these young people through what is often a very difficult time. Thank you.

Maria Coyle

Information Manager at The Children’s Trust

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