News Closing time for businesses
TWO Coventry businesses that have served the community for decades are to close because of a massive Coventry University-led redevelopment in the city centre.
The Deli and City News Food and Wine are two of several businesses which will be leaving their Earl Street homes.
Leigh Maoudis has run The Deli for almost 13 years, but due to the regeneration work which will take place around the former Coventry City Council Civic Centre site, he has to leave. The shop premises were bought back by Coventry University from Coventry City Council in 2015, along with Civic Centre Two, as part of a £125million deal.
That saw council staff leave the building and traders say they noticed business slow down as a result. One of the shop owners says he is “rather happy” and the university says it has “come to an agreement” with most of the businesses.
Now it is time for the shops to close, after Leigh says he was told last summer he would have to vacate the premises.
He said: “The university has been a good landlord, and our time will be up on May 25. I have been happy with the way they have dealt with me. Essentially we have to move because of the regeneration happening around the shops. The rent isn’t the problem, but the council moving has made our business take a massive hit. We have been here since 2005 and had thousands of thousands of people walk through those doors – including the council staff. Now, I have none of them come in, because they have all gone, and my footfall has dropped.
“I feel proud of what I’ve done here and the business I have built up.
“I don’t think I will find somewhere else though, after this, and it makes me sad to see everything so empty.
“Even with the amount of students here, they don’t come in. We used to serve thousands of people every day back in 2008. I would like to thank all my loyal customers though who have stuck with me.”
Leigh’s neighbour next door, Mohan Singh, who owns City Food News and Wine, has been in the business for 21 years and feels happy to close.
Mohan said: “It has been 21 years this year that I have had this business.
“I am 60 now and I have had a happy time here. You can’t do anything now it is all happening. I have got all I have out of this place, all the love, so I am happy. I am rather happy with the situation.” Rob Talliss, group director of estate development at Coventry University, said: “We are still in the early stages of the design for the redevelopment of the Civic Centre. “We’ve been in positive discussions with business owners for some time about how this project will affect their futures and we have come to an agreement with the majority of them. “Rents were set by former landlords and have not been changed since we took ownership of the site. “We will continue to work with those in the community who have an interest in this project and look forward to sharing our plans for the site in the future.” It was reported at the time that the university planned to demolish the buildings with a view to creating new ones, including a new headquarters for the university. The bridge between the Council House and Civic Centre Two was recently removed as the university’s plans gathered pace. But the building has now been given Grade II listed status which prevents it being knocked down or modified significantly without special consent.
Previous plans Speaking as the deal for the buildings was signed at the MIPIM property show in 2015, Coventry University vice chancellor John Latham said: “This is a major city centre site, which presents Coventry City Council and Coventry University a once-in-a-generation opportunity not only to allow the university to fulfil its potential, but also to make a significant improvement to the city centre.”
He added: “The development of Friargate and the council’s decision to move to it, will allow us to add some key new buildings linking to our current footprint which in turn will allow us to make improvements to the rest of our campus and increase our already extensive integration with business.
“Not only will it allow us to create several new key buildings, it will, just as importantly, give us the capacity to free up and then develop some of our existing sites. We will be able to create a truly world class headquarters which will give the university a real focal point for students, local people and visitors.”