Thursday, October 20, 2011
A planning application has been submitted by KEP Developments for the development of the Old Hall site at Tamworth Road in Coundon, Coventry.
The scheme, designed by Howl Associates Architects of Kidderminster, combines restoration of the Grade II listed building with contemporary extensions and an innovative 'subterranean development'. The aim is to provide a 50 bedroom hotel with spa and a range of function room facilities including a large banqueting hall. The proposed 'subterranean development' involves the creation of a sunken courtyard that will be dug into the surrounding landscape. The sunken courtyard will feature grassed roofs and, in the courtyard itself, sandstone facings.
The main building itself will be refurbished and the more recent extensions added in the 1990s will be demolished. The historic agricultural courtyard buildings will be retained and restored. The tower and cottage will be retained and restored also for use as staff accommodation. The Design and Heritage Statement (link below) makes for a fascinating read as to the development of the Old Hall since its construction in the mid 19th century. Originally known as Coundon Villa, the Old Hall was first used as a farmhouse. Subsequently it was occupied by a Stephen Barnwell, a Ribbon and Trimming Manufacturer.
The Old Hall remained in residential use until 1947 when it was purchased by the Northampton Brewery Company with the intention of turning it into a hotel. In the 1960s the Old Hall underwent significant alteration when the owner changed the building to a steakhouse and bar. Most of the period features were lost during this time as internal walls were removed, floor levels were changed, the original staircase was removed and the original entrance lobby was demolished.
Howl Associates' scheme proposes the reintroduction of an original style staircase and a more appropriately designed entrance lobby / porch. Throughout the building interiors will be reinstated in a style more in keeping with the original Old Hall. The raised floor areas inserted in the 1960s will be removed. Other improvements to the landscape will be made included restoration and enhancement of the two existing ponds.
Part of the existing car park immediately surrounding the Old Hall will be displaced in order to improve the setting. New car parking will be relocated and screened by formal hedging.
The former walled kitchen garden will be reinstated with new pyramid glass structures introduced to allow natural light into the function room below and create illuminated features at night.
Overall this looks to be an impressive scheme which the Coventry Society supports. The combination of restoration of historic building and innovative new build to compliment the existing is certainly a model that we would like to see adopted throughout the city.
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