Coventry as you’ve never seen it before
AN AMBITIOUS plan to transform the city centre by building Victorianstyle luxury homes has been produced by a Coventry designer.
Alan Denyer, of AWD Restorations, believes his idea would be a viable alternative to the current trend of filling up derelict pieces of land with large blocks of student accommodation.
The Earlsdon- based developer has produced artists’ impressions which show the spectacular transformation when Victorian buildings are introduced.
He wants Coventry council to back his plans to produce the high quality apartments in areas such as Salt Lane, Bishops Street and Well Street.
Mr Denyer, who is also a member of Coventry Society, said: “I want to help the city get over its concrete hangover from the 1950s and 1960s.
“I have always had an ambition to help Coventry city centre turn itself around. I have looked at the possibilities of what it would take to change it quite dramatically.
“I’m not a big developer, but I’m passionate about architecture and the power of it to transform streetscapes and bring in quality footfall.”
Mr Denyer, who recently refurbished two buildings in Davenport Road, said he wanted to work with the council to produce a pilot scheme in a mutually agreed area.
He said he would foot the bill for development in exchange for the council handing over the leasehold and that profits would then be shared between his firm and the council - something which he believes would provide a better long- term benefit to the taxpayer than selling off leaseholds to student accommodation developers.
He agreed there was a need for student accommodation, and he was supportive of the ongoing developments, but he believed a successful city centre required a mixture of developments.
He said: “I think student accommodation is only
part of the big picture Coventry needs to regenerate itself.
“I understand the need for councils to get a return on their assets, but through a joint venture deal they could see a greater return in 18 to 24 months than through a deal with a student accommodation developer.
“If you can establish a successful up- market or prestige development pilot scheme then other developers will be more inclined to look at that rather than the studenttype developments we have seen so far.”
Mr Denyer did accept there are risks to his proposals, but insists they were worth taking.
He said: “If you are providing residential homes for £ 200,000 to £ 300,000 that’s a big leap of faith to expect someone to pay that when there hasn’t really been anyone living in the city centre for the past 75 years.
“But there are some big employers in Coventry and this is an opportunity to drive more people with cash into accommodation within ten minutes of the city centre.
“The style would be appropriate, there are already similar looking buildings in The Quadrant and historically there were quite a number of Victorian- style buildings like this in the city centre.
“Having something like this would provide a balance to the newer buildings in the city centre.”
He added: “Imagine Salt Lane and the Bishops Gate area lined with trees, paving and Victorian and Georgian- style buildings all the way to Lady Herbert’s Garden. That’s the type of architecture that would make people think again about Coventry.
“I think it could seriously work. I see this as the missing link to the regeneration of Coventry city centre.”
Asked if he was hopeful of getting the council on board with his idea, he said he was still waiting to hear back from the planning department.
Mr Denyer added: “I’m not saying I have all the answers in terms of finance, where and the most appropriate buildings. But it would be great to have a conversation.”
Cook Street BEFORE
Silver Street AFTER
AFTER Salt Lane BEFORE