Planning consent granted for major Coventry City Centre scheme

Work to transform a key area of Coventry city centre will start later this month.

Developers Complex Development Projects and Unite Group plc have been granted planning consent for a major £25 million scheme on Hales Street and the contractors are due to start construction within the next two weeks.

The project will be the first phase of the plans for the regeneration of The Burges area of the city.  The later phases include the restoration of historic properties and opening up the river in Palmer Lane with the creation of bars and restaurants which will front onto a new riverside square.

The developers of Phase 1 will contribute £280,000 towards the regeneration of the wider Burges area which will act as match funding for the Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £2m that has been approved at Stage 1 and is now being worked up by the Council in partnership with Historic Coventry Trust.

The council owned site for this first phase of development has a long frontage to Hales Street opposite the Transport Museum. The new development will also have active frontages to Palmer Lane and the riverside area at the rear.  Construction of the three buildings will be completed by the summer of 2017 ready for occupation by students in September 17.

CDP and Unite have been successfully working together for the past few years in Far Gosford Street.  Their £20m Gosford Gate project is already making a dramatic change to the city centre approach from Sky Blue Way and will be completed by July this year.

Ian Harrabin, Managing Director of CDP, said: “The development of this leftover site is the key to the successful regeneration of The Burges area and the creation of activity in the proposed riverside square.

“The Burges area has been in decline for decades but deserves to be much better cared for. It is one of the few intact parts of the pre-war city that we have left and has a lot of potential to create an attractive riverside quarter. This planning decision will help enable that to happen.

“The success of our universities and the growth in student housing demand has allowed us to bring forward a development which had previously stalled for economic reasons and that will have a very positive knock-on effect for the city.

“We have shown in Far Gosford Street what can be achieved if we show some imagination in the way we develop – and I think there is as much potential here.

“The aim is to turn it into an asset for locals and visitors and would fit perfectly into Coventry’s bid for City of Culture in 2021.”

Richard Simpson, Unite Students Managing Director – Property, commented: “We are delighted to have received planning consent for our new Millennium View development. The site has been empty for over a decade, and after working closely with the Council and our partners, it will be great to see the space come back to life.

“The new development will benefit students and local residents alike, spurring on the regeneration of the whole area and helping to ease pressure on private residential housing. Coventry is a thriving university city and a great home for students who are important contributors to the local economy.  We have a proud 25 year track record in providing high quality, safe and secure accommodation for students and this will continue through our Millennium View development.”

Cllr Kevin Maton, Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Employment, said: “This site has been lying undeveloped for too long and it will be great to see it moving forward and bringing fresh life and vitality.

“It is an exciting project in its own right, but also provides the much needed boost to kick start wider regeneration in that quarter of the city centre.”