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Coventry masterplan gets crucial cash boost

Coventry masterplan gets crucial cash boost

A major redevelopment in the heart of Coventry is set to go ahead, thanks to new money from the West Midlands Combined Authority.

The body has agreed to provide £98.8 million of devolved funding for Coventry City Council's City Centre South project, which aims to transform a part of the centre around Bull Yard, Shelton Square and Market Way.

It will include a 560,000 sq ft shopping complex, which will be similar in size to the Touchwood Centre in nearby Solihull. Central to the £360 million project will be a new cinema and a signature retail outlet. The city council is believed to have identified a major brand to provide this flagship store, but the identity of it is as yet unknown. 

Around 2,000 jobs will be created by the project and it will be connected to the new pedestrianised boulevard linking the city centre with Coventry Railway Station, a short distance to the south. 

The whole plan had been in doubt until the intervention of the combined authority, whose chair Councillor Bob Sleigh said the ability to devote funding to a project in this way is a "great example of how our devolution deal is beginning to have a real impact".

Coventry City Council leader George Duggins expressed delight at the news, noting that local people have already "waited too long for improvements to the city centre," with discussions over what to do about this dating back to 2011.

He added: "It's no less than Coventry people deserve and a wonderful early Christmas present for the city."

Coventry was devastated by the Blitz in the Second World War and while the three prominent church spires surviving from the 1940s continue to dominate the skyline, the city was the subject of a range of post-war planning schemes that have gained it a negative reputation.

Among the improvements already carried out have been increased pedestrianisation, the use of traffic controls to slow the pace of cars in the city centre and the building of the boulevard to make access from the station easier.

Image: iStock


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