PLANS to transform a disused historic listed building in Coventry city centre into a classical music venue for youngsters are moving forward.
A planning application has now been submitted to restore the Grade II* listed Regency-style Drapers’ Hall in Bayley Lane, in the cathedral quarter.
The Prince’s Foundation and Historic Coventry Trust are seeking planning and listed building consent.
They want to adapt the building as a performance space for professional classical music as well as provide music education facilities to train Coventry’s young musicians, with Coventry Music Service as the main tenant.
Drapers’ Hall was built in the classical style in phases from 1832. It was the headquarters of the city’s Worshipful Company of Drapers and has also been a magistrate’s court, church centre and even an air raid shelter. It has lain empty since the early 1990s.
It was built on the site of earlier halls. The association of the Drapers with this area of Coventry goes back to the city’s late medieval heyday when it was the fourth largest city in the country, its wealth based on the production of highly-prized wool and woollen cloth.
Historic Coventry Trust, aim to have the restored hall opened in 2020, in time for the city’s tenure as UK City of Culture the following year.
Nicola Dyer, senior project manager for The Prince’s Foundation, said: “This planning application is hopefully the start of restoring this impressive building.
“Our work will honour the building’s past and its importance to the city whilst creating a contemporary use that will improve the facilities and opportunities available to the people of Coventry.”
Ian Harrabin, of Historic Coventry Trust, said: “We have worked very closely with The Prince’s Foundation to make such tremendous progress in the past few months and reach this important milestone in the restoration of Drapers’ Hall and the realisation of the potential of this landmark building for Coventry.”
A decision on the planning application and listed building consent is expected before the end of the year.
The Prince’s Foundation are project managing the sensitive restoration work and re-purposing of the building, and providing specialist architectural design services.
The hall is not usually open to the public but the city’s recent Heritage Open Days enabled Historic Coventry Trust and the Foundation to share their plans for the building to the public.