2nd Jul, 2022

Major student block plan near conservation area in Coventry sparks opposition

Felix Nobes 30th Jul, 2019 Updated: 30th Jul, 2019

MAJOR plans for a 460-apartment student block near a Coventry conservation area have sparked criticism from a heritage group.

The Coventry Society has hit out at proposals which involve the demolition of three historic buildings, that ‘enhance’ the nearby Greyfriars Green Conservation Area.

The plans submitted would see 23, 25 and 29 Warwick Road destroyed to make way for the imposing multi-storey block.

Society chiefs have argued that each of the buildings, including two Victorian office spaces, are worthy of local listing and the conservation area should be extended to protect them.

The proposed student block would include 460 studio apartments, a communal ‘hub’ area for students, open space and parking.

Proposals were submitted to Coventry City Council by Vita Coventry 1 Ltd at the end of last month.

The developer hopes the block will be ‘fully operational’ in September 2021.

The society says the development means more of the city’s heritage is set to be bulldozed.

It says number 23 is known as Bank House and argues it is a good example of Coventry’s ‘ground-breaking’ post-war reconstruction.

Number 25 and 29 are late Victorian era buildings that the society says make a valuable contribution to the character of the area.

A society spokesperson said: “The Coventry Society is not ‘anti-development’.

“We agree with Councillor Jim O’Boyle’s quotation ‘Best of the old, Best of the new!’

“But this is a key location on the main entrance into the centre of the city and the existing buildings contribute to the sense of place and history.

“We challenge the developer’s assertion that views of these buildings are ‘glimpsed and filtered’ from the Conservation Area.

“Their historic nature needs to be considered – their contribution to the historic townscape of this conservation area is considerable.

“We request the planning committee to give consideration to a sustainable reuse of these buildings, preserving their historic interest and character and the embodied energy of their construction.”

A design statement from Vita Coventry 1 Ltd says: “The scheme’s design will provide high quality student residential

accommodation with communal Hub space, that will complement the application site’s prominent and sensitive location.”

And a heritage statement says: “The application site is adjacent to Greyfriars Green Conservation Area and is proximate to a number of listed and locally listed buildings.

“As set out earlier, the existing buildings on the site are of limited interest and are only considered to contribute to nearby heritage assets by virtue of their consistent scale and the enclosure they provide to the green and as a fragment of historic townscape.

“The proposed development has been designed to maintain these contributing qualities where possible, whilst addressing the evolving cityscape of Coventry to the east.”

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