Construction work will start on the final piece of an 18-year Coventry regeneration project this summer after it was given the green light by planners.
The £20 million Gosford Gate – a mixed-use development at the entrance to Far Gosford Street –will feature restaurants and shops at ground floor level as well as providing a home for 286 students in purpose built accommodation above. The development will provide a link between Coventry University and the city’s new creative quarter, anchored by Fargo Village.
Complex Development Projects (CDP), who has worked in partnership with Coventry City Council to regenerate the area, is working with Unite Students, the UKs largest developer and operator of student accommodation to deliver the project.
Gosford Gate, together with CDP’s two new office buildings underway on the adjoining site, will create a landmark frontage to Sky Blue Way which is one of the main gateways to the city centre.
The scheme is the final development in the regeneration of Far Gosford Street which has seen the restoration of existing properties, including 16 listed buildings as well as the creation of the Fargo Village creative quarter and new offices.
Ian Harrabin, of CDP, who has masterminded the regeneration programme, believes it is fitting that a mixed-use development involving students should round off the project.
“The University is a huge economic driver for this part of the city centre and the gap in the street left by the development of Sky Blue Way in the 1970s created a dead zone that severed the link,” he said.
“We first came up with the idea 18 years ago. It has been a very bumpy ride and there were times when many people inside and outside the city did not think it would be possible.
“But I think we and the council have shown determination for the long-term and that, coupled with the strong vision and community buy-in, has really made it possible.
“Regeneration is a long game but the full support of the council, committed officers and community commitment, has made it all possible.
“I firmly believe that it is a great example of what can be done if people are united behind community regeneration. Far Gosford Street – once this last phase has been completed – will have made a huge transition. None of this would have been possible without major investment from Heritage Lottery and European Regional Development Fund.
“The fact that Unite Students will be providing a home for success for young people studying at Coventry University will help in every way, and I think it is really fitting that it will round off what has been a very successful project which will serve local people, businesses and the city very well indeed.”
Cllr Kevin Maton, Coventry City Council Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Employment, said: “Far Gosford Street is one of our oldest and most historic streets. It’s been enjoyed by past generations who have lived, worked and traded or shopped in it. Now, this new student accommodation will help to breathe new life into this much loved street all over again.
“Over the last decade listed buildings have been affectionately and sensitively restored and now Fargo is attracting families and others back to the street to enjoy its uniqueness. Our work at the entrance between Gosford Street and Far Gosford Street has also improved access for drivers, widened pavements and added new crossing points. Once the new building is finished it really will have been totally transformed.”
Richard Simpson, Managing Director of Property for Unite, commented: “We are delighted to have received planning consent in Coventry, as we continue to progress our regional development pipeline.
“Achieving planning through delegated decision reflects the confidence Coventry has in Unite and will enable us to continuing supporting the University by providing a safe, secure home for its growing student population.”