Coventry to invest £120m ahead of City of Culture

Coventry to invest £120m ahead of City of Culture

Councillors drawing up plans for public realm improvements to change the face of Coventry and prepare the city for its year as UK City of Culture.

The city centre has had £57m invested into it over the past six years but councillors now say they need to prepare for the next stage as the city continues to attract investment and new development.

The plans continue the massive public realm work already undertaken around the city, including the transformation of Broadgate and Council House Square.

Other work has seen improvements to the areas around the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry University and Holy Trinity Church.

Potential improvements that have been earmarked include the transformation of Upper Precinct, improving the area around Cathedral Lanes and City Centre South, improving the new waterpark and leisure centre, work around Smithford Way and Market Way, and work around the planned car park in Salt Lane.

Councillor Jayne Innes, Coventry City Council’s Cabinet Member for City Services, said: “The work so far has really changed the city and made a massive difference to residents and businesses. It has helped us to attract new restaurants and developments and the city has really come to life.

“We have seen massive improvements to other areas and we have won national and regional awards.

“Now, after being named UK City of Culture, we are in a fantastic position to really do something special and not just give our thousands of visitors the best experience possible, but build something lasting for the residents of the city.

“We wanted the title of City of Culture because we knew it would lead to amazing things for Coventry and this is the next stage in that very exciting work.”

The large public realm projects would also be supported by general work such as improvements to cycleways, road signs, coach parking and other areas.

As many as possible will be completed before 2021, with the remainder from 2022 onwards, at a total programme cost of around £120m.

Projects will be funded from a range of sources including grant from WMCA Devolution Deal and the Government’s Local Growth Fund through Coventry & Warwickshire LEP. 

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration, added: “These are such great times for our city - when you look at all the work so far and the projects just around the corner like the waterpark and City Centre South.

“We know we won’t be able to do all of this work in time for 2021, but by setting out our aims now and drawing up this list we can make sure we are ready to apply for any funding as soon as it becomes available..

“We want to be in pole position so we can put our case forward and continue to improve the city at the incredible pace we have set so far.

“These schemes will do more than just make our city look good. They will help us to attract investment and bring in new organisations and firms and the jobs that go with them. That will help our shops and restaurants and bring a massive financial boost to the city – making life better for everyone.

“It is an ambitious programme of work, but we are an ambitious city.”