The City Centre Area Action Plan
The City Council have published a draft City Centre Area Action Plan (CCAAP) in February 2015. The CCAAP is a 90 page document that helps guide, inform and consider development proposals within Coventry city centre. It will guide how the city centre will develop over the next 20 years and provides a framework for the transformation of the city centre. In July 2016 the examination in public of the new plan commenced.
We see the key elements of the CCAAP to be:
Public Realm – develop a high quality of landscape design, providing significant new attractive and welcoming public spaces.
Buildings – we want to see High Quality Design as the critical ingredient of any developments; we support active frontages and use of quality materials (distinctive “Coventry” style of sandstone, red brick and timber). We recognise that good building design is an essential element of the built environment. The city centre needs a better balance between large-scale buildings and domestic scale developments.
Homes – we support the plan to build new houses in the city centre and see the need to bring back a “living heart”; this should include aspirational housing to both retain University graduates and attract families back into the centre.
Small Independent Businesses – we want to promote development that caters for this key sector that would then contribute to the lifeblood of the city centre, and become instigators for change.
Green Areas – we support the plan to open up sections of the culverted River Sherbourne; we see the potential for creating a natural green corridor following the River Sherbourne west-east across and through the city centre, connecting people with nature, and giving access to natural green spaces; we support the policy to maintain and enhance green & blue infrastructure and develop the “greening” of the Ring Road. Deliver a strategic network of green and blue spaces (parks, amenity landscaping, ponds, canals and rivers) that is of high quality and well connected.
Ring Road – we need to address the negative “barrier” effects of the ring road, to improve access and connectivity between the Centre and the wider City. We want to green and civilise the ring road which is seen as a physical and psychological barrier, creating safer, more convenient and attractive routes across it.
Historic Environment / Heritage Assets – we need to preserve and enhance the City’s historic buildings, to develop the “lost” Medieval legacy of Coventry, whilst supporting the development of heritage and tourism. We want to connect residents with their past, boosting civic pride, identity and hope, and link the Medieval fifteenth century story into the twenty first century Area Action Plan. We want to support the installation of Public Art to help enrich the City’s cultural offering, celebrating the rich history.
Next Steps, Progress:
The Coventry Society looks forward to an on-going dialogue and engagement with the Council and developers, to ensure the Plan gets translated into a quality, attractive and diverse city centre.
Our aspiration is to develop a culture of utilising Design Briefs to guide the development of the City Centre and ensure a Quality transformation.
We are looking to work in partnership with local Architect and Designers to develop Design Briefs that will support and guide the CCAAP into reality. The over-riding desire of the Coventry Society is to install a culture of “Quality” into the city centre environment, and we promote ideas and input regarding architecture, street-scene and the urban realm. We are progressing a working group with stakeholders and professionals in the fields of architecture, urban design and the built environment, aiming to raise awareness of design issues and encourage debate and interaction across the City.
You can download documents relating to the CCAAP and the Examination in Public here.
You can download the Coventry Society response to the City Centre Area Action Plan here.
Let us know your views about the City Centre Area Action Plan and our perspective on it by filling in the form below:
* * *
Sara Maycock responds to the plan (26/7/2017)
Has the Council lost sight of these stated objectives?
I’m curious to know why there are large numbers of student blocks going up which seem to defy the goal to make more of the city’s heritage and connect with the potential for residents’ to feel pride in their city. Opportunities to make more of the River Sherbourne in the city centre seem to have been lost and the demolition of City Arcade removes the few individual traders that exist – will they be re-instated in affordable units in the City Centre South development?
With air quality and environment high on the agenda why on earth isn’t Coventry seeing an opportunity to become a cycling city (by excluding unnecessary traffic from the city centre) and underwrite the fact that it was the place where the safety cycle was invented, a clear link to its heritage and something for locals and tourists to enjoy. There is a complete lack of creative vision in terms of what could be possible in relation to its history and heritage. New shops aren’t going to magic Coventry into the list of top ten cities to visit, when people are increasingly going on-line to shop. It’s going to need something much more radical than a few shops to get people into the city. What about a community arts space with opportunities for local communities to come together and exhibit arts and crafts and run events – there is nothing whatsoever to showcase local talent other than libraries which are set to close unless volunteers step in. Let’s see more real investment in the local rather than transient communities and create a real sense of pride in the city. It’s long overdue. A plea from a frustrated resident of 30 years.
Alastair Smith writes 4/9/2018
“New construction is necessary, but it is not an unmixed blessing…Notice that when a new building goes up, the kind of ground-floor tenants it gets are usually the chain store and the chain restaurant. Lack of variety in age and overhead is an unavoidable defect in large new shopping centers and is one reason why even the most successful cannot incubate the unusual–a point overlooked by planners of downtown shopping-center projects”.
Not my words. But those of seminal author Jane Jacobs (1958): famous for her advocacy for a people focused ‘living city’. Perhaps something Coventry’s planners consider.