Details of the latest phase of city centre public realm improvements have been revealed in a Coventry City Council Cabinet Report.

Last week the council announced plans for a wide-ranging ‘Carnaby Street’ style makeover of a number of city gateway locations around the Cathedral Quarter. The improvements are part of a larger programme of works to improve the city centre using £2 million Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Local Growth Deal funding.

Since 2011 the Council has delivered over £33 million of public realm improvements in Coventry City Centre. The most recent scheme was completed earlier this year, and saw improvements to the route between Coventry University campus and the city centre, Far Gosford Street, Lidice Place, Belgrade Plaza and Whittle Arch.

Phase four will see the transformation of Greyfriars Lane, Pepper Lane and relocation of the Coventry Cross; improvements to the public realm in Fairfax Street; introduction of more public art into the city centre, including the reinstatement of local pieces in locations; and improvements to West Orchards car park access, a measure that will receive matched funding from West Orchards.

Full details of the proposals are outlined in the Cabinet Report as follows (scroll down for full report):

  • Greyfriars Lane: further to the proposals set out in the March 2015 Report, the scheme will improve the link between Salt Lane Car Park and High Street and Pepper Lane. The high quality design will tie in with the previously regenerated High Street in terms of materials, and will include the installation of trees and Carnaby Street-style suspended catenary lighting to create an attractive and vibrant route.
  • Pepper Lane: currently hosts an unattractive service yard; the scheme would see this frontage improved by creating a visual barrier through attractive fencing and planting to the service area which would provide a far more pleasant vista to enable outdoor seating at ground level and balconies on first floor level of Cathedral Lanes. Alterations to the highway are proposed to raise the carriageway to create a level pleasant space for pedestrians and vehicles, while the surface will be treated with the same high quality materials palette as the adjacent High Street.
  • Coventry Cross: there is an aspiration to open up space in Cuckoo Lane with its magnificent vista of both the Cathedral and Holy Trinity Church by relocating the Coventry Cross Monument to nearby Cross Cheaping. The Cross takes up a lot of space and currently acts as a constraint for extension of the developments in the area. Opening up this land to an alternative use for restaurants and bars in this area will help support the restaurant quarter and city’s night time economy and make better use of this prime location for the people of Coventry and visitors to enjoy.
  • Fairfax Street Phase 2: improvements were carried out at Whittle Arch and part of Fairfax Street in 2015 as part of the Public Realm Phase 3a. This scheme will address the public realm in adjacent area to the scheme on Fairfax Street, improving access to the Cathedral and Transport Museum for visitors by removing the taxis and bus bay to create a wider footway to allow for restaurants and cafes to provide outdoor seating to create a more cosmopolitan feel to this bustling part of the city centre. High quality materials will be used and trees planted to create a far more attractive public space.
  • Scheme Development – The city has aspirations to undertake some major infrastructure works to transform Junctions 4 and 5 of the ring road to unlock development space and improve walking routes to the city centre. To facilitate these projects extensive feasibility studies are required utilising professional engineering consultancy services. These sites are instrumental to unlock development land particularly for Coventry University and the Whitefriars Monastery at J4 and the Techno Park at J5.
  • Public Art Trail – Coventry has a rich cultural heritage which is currently not promoted as widely as it could be to attract visitors to the city centre. Public art adds another dimension of attractiveness to a city from a cultural perspective, post-war there was a lot of public art installed in the city centre which has since declined. The Council wish to see some of the original public art re-instated and better promote the city’s heritage. It is proposed to refurbish and reinstate some of the city’s most loved sculptures, locations to be determined.
  • West Orchards car park access – improvements to the car park access for to create a more attractive and accessible setting for visitors. Note this will be match funded by West Orchards.
  • Coach Parking Improvements – Coventry has a significant number of visitors that come via coach to the city every year. The main coach park is White Street in the north near the Cathedral. However there is a need for more drop off and pick up points around the city centre close to other attractions such as the Belgrade Plaza, Spon Street and The Herbert to encourage visitors to explore more of the city centre. Work will include creating new coach bays and improved signage. If the city becomes the ‘City of Culture’ it is anticipated that there will be a significant increase in visitor numbers.
  • Cuckoo Lane: the cobbled streets of Cuckoo Lane and Hay Lane are key routes to Cathedral Quarter and are currently in a bad state of repair; the scheme would repair and replace cobbles as necessary to complete the recent improvement to the Hill Top area. Works comprise carefully lifting existing cobbles, constructing a concrete supporting layer and relaying the cobbles with new mortar surround in Pepper Lane and Cuckoo Lane.
  • Corporation Street paving – much of Corporation Street has been transformed under the Belgrade Plaza scheme which was delivered under the City Centre Access scheme. However, there is one section of paving which remains in poor condition opposite the AXA building, which is a key route to the Transport museum. The scheme will upgrade the paving using high quality materials to complete the link on this important city centre route.
  • City Centre Cycle Improvements – the Cycle Coventry project has delivered over £7m cycle route improvements around Coventry. The project has now ended, however the works have left a number of missing links at key strategic city centre locations which require interventions to create consistent high quality routes connecting across the city centre. The Council’s partner Sustrans has undertaken an extensive survey and have come up with a mixture of low and high cost interventions at 15 city centre locations. The interventions all relate to the public realm, and include items such as improved signage, installation of dropped kerbs and removal of street clutter.
  • Greyfriars Green/Warwick Row Link – this scheme involves realignment of the main footway from the railway station to city centre from Warwick Road via Greyfriars Green through to Warwick Row, to complement the Friargate pedestrian boulevard and create a more direct route. At present the footway isn’t on the desire lane, resulting in pedestrians walking over the landscaped area which is not Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant and is damaging the recently improved green space. The new footway would be high quality paving to complement the Friargate boulevard.

Full Document:

Local Growth Deal - Public Realm Phase 4 and Infrastructure Projects
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