A regeneration specialist with a passion for heritage, who has brought neglected areas of the Midlands back to life, has been honoured in the New Year’s Honours list.
Ian Harrabin has been honoured with an MBE for services to Heritage and Regeneration in Coventry.
The 57-year-old Chartered Surveyor is managing director of Complex Development Projects (CDP), an award-winning family-owned company that specialises in urban regeneration by working in partnership with government, community groups and charities.
He is also Chairman of Historic Coventry Trust, the charity leading the revival of Coventry’s historic buildings, and a Trustee of City of Culture 2021.
Ian, a former pupil of King Henry VIII’s School, said: “The award is a recognition of efforts of the very many people from all walks of life that I have worked with over many years towards the aim of making Coventry a great place again.
“For the first time in my life, this is really within our grasp and it just shows that there are no limits to what we can achieve by working together. Everyone has their own individual talents and by combining together we have become a pretty unstoppable force for good.
“I wouldn’t have been able to achieve half of what I’ve done over the years without the never-ending support of my husband José, my assistant Kate and my family.
“We inspire and encourage each other and share the ups and downs. It is perhaps apt that the se-cret for Coventry’s brighter future has been for the city to pull together like a big family.”
CDP’s partnership with Coventry City Council has recently regenerated the historic Far Gosford St area as the city’s creative quarter centred on Fargo Village, and has been a leading partner in the City of Culture bid.
CDP’s innovative reuse of the city’s 1896 power station, which was threatened with demolition, created Electric Wharf, a live/work creative village which won Outstanding Place of the Decade in 2010.
The company is also working on major projects in Birmingham, Smethwick, Stourbridge and Bristol while work starts shortly on a long-term partnership for the regeneration of Old Town Leamington Spa as a new quarter for digital and creative industries.
Acting personally, Ian joined with the local community in 2011 to found Historic Coventry Trust to save Coventry’s Charterhouse, a former Carthusian Monastery founded by Richard II in 1385.
The Charterhouse now forms the centrepiece of plans for a new 70 acre Heritage Park – a £15m project that will provide an exceptional landscape next to the city centre. The charity has grown in aspiration to become a ‘National Trust’ for Coventry with the aim of preserving all heritage at risk for future generations and bringing buildings back into productive economic, cultural and social use.
Delivery of the vision was recently boosted by a ground-breaking deal with Coventry City Council to transfer ownership of 27 historic buildings and sites to the Trust which is the largest ever in the UK. If the funding can be secured, this will kick-start a five-year restoration and regeneration programme in excess of £30million.