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The Heritage Action Zone – What is it?

Bayley Lane

Had you heard that Coventry has been designated as a Heritage Action Zone (HAZ)? Do you have the faintest idea what that is all about? Well a member of the Coventry Society committee attended the last meeting and found out a bit more for us.

It appears that the HAZ committee is mainly a co-coordinating body, with both funders and implementers on the same group. Organisations involved include Historic England, the City Council, Coventry Cathedral, the Coventry Historic Building Trust, Coventry University, the City of Culture Trust, the Local Enterprise Partnership, Culture Coventry, the C20 Society as well as a number of other voluntary organisations including the Priory group, Medieval Coventry and Photo Archive Miners.

There is a strategic plan for the HAZ which includes a lot of projects for the city:

• The Burges Conservation Area Partnership Scheme, a scheme to regenerate the Burges and open up the River Sherbourne – a decision on the funding of this is expected soon.

• A review of the buildings in the city centre that need to be listed. It is expected that the Upper Precinct will be listed soon.

• Coventry City Centre Area Assessment – this is looking at whether parts of the city centre should become a Conservation Area.

• Heritage Information Accessibility. This project involves digitising and making accessible online the photographic record of the City Architects Department, which includes many tens of thousands of photographs.

• Enriching the List. This is a project to provide more information about the listed buildings in the city. This project is programmed for 2020.

• Heritage at Risk Review. This is a review of historic buildings and features that are at risk.

• A project about the Medieval City Wall and Gates, including Swanswell Gate and Cook Street Gate.

• Heritage in Coventry Schools – encouraging schools to better informed about the city’s heritage.

• Coventry City Heritage Strategy. This is programmed for next year.

• Heritage Tourist Trails for Coventry.

• Coventry’s Hidden Heritage. This is a project to undertake detailed investigation work on five historic buildings in the city centre to understand them properly. The first building is Whitefriars Gatehouse and work has started on this. The other buildings have not yet been identified,

• Picturing Coventry – exhibitions about the city’s heritage.

• Training in Traditional Building Conservation Skills.

• Conservation of 20th Century Fabric. A symposium is planned in the Cathedral, a manual for home owners and Heritage Management Plans.

• Whitefriars Gatehouse. This is planned to be accommodation for the University, a café and workshop and will commence later this year.

• A project for the Non Conformist Chapel at the London Road Cemetery.

• A project at Lychgate Cottages.

• Underground Coventry. This project is planned for 2020.

• Medieval Coventry have produced an inventory document for all the medieval buildings in the city.

• It is planned to write up and publish the records of the excavations that took place (in the eighties) behind Draper’s Hall.

• Plans for Draper’s Hall are expected to move forward soon.

• St. Mary’s Hall. Hopefully something will be done about access to St. Mary’s Hall as part of the HAZ.

• The Charterhouse. Planning permission and Listed Building consent have now been granted. Stage 2 is going to the Heritage Lottery Board later in March.

• The transfer of assets from the City Council to the Heritage Trust is ongoing.

• The CET Building - the planning application has been submitted.

• The Herbert are applying for funding for a George Eliot project.

It is clear that an amazing amount of work is going on. The Coventry Society will seek to keep you informed of progress.

Reader Comments (3)

I am delighted to hear about the decision to improve access to a lot more of Coventry's medieval past. I hope that some money could be spent on creating audio guides to St. Mary's Guildhall and the Tapestry, in various international languages.

By Steven Morson on Sunday, March 4, 2018

Listing the Upper Precinct?. Why? I agree with the rest but the upper precinct is an eyesore as well as those canopies. Walking around there today, and I can see the need for demolition of the canopies and the development that area requires. I hope the developers get in there before listing and give us a city centre that needs updating, not being stuck in the past.

By ROB THOMPSELL on Sunday, March 4, 2018

isn't it about time we moved the tourist information office into the old grammar school to keep this lovely old building in constant use & help keep it looking good ? there must be some way the council can purchase & demolish the horrid shops that separate this building from the motor museum & as they are both under the same administrator I think it would make sense.

By sheila bates on Monday, March 5, 2018

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