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Post-war redevelopment

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NeilsYard
Coventry
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1 of 111  Sun 23rd Jan 2011 6:15pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1575

This is all to do with the redevelopments for the 2012 games: BBC You need a Yahoo login to leave comments but please do so! Council Proposals Apologies Rob if this does not meet the Historic chat rules but there's no better people to comment about this that care about 'our' City than those here....
Post-war redevelopment
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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2 of 111  Sun 23rd Jan 2011 6:51pm  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1078

Cheers Neil. No problem having this on the Forum - it's all "Coventry" and perfectly good stuff! Some of those proposals are quite decent in a way. Not totally radical, but almost anything is an improvement on the drab city centre we have at the moment. I guess we've become so used to poor planning over the last few decades that any small change for the better is welcome. I think most of us here have also become completely cynical though, due to being let down so often, and we probably wonder if any of this will really ever happen! Typically too, they've depicted the "current" images on dull cloudy days, and given the proposed images a nice blue sky to give a rather exaggerated contrast between the two. Bloomin' cheats!
Post-war redevelopment
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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3 of 111  Thu 27th Jan 2011 7:26am  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1078

Just a quick follow-up to my last post now that I've actually looked at all the proposed changes now, and not just the first couple.... what lazy, unimaginative designers we have!!! It seems that the sole sum of their talents is to lay acres of square grey slabs everywhere - and then try to con us into thinking that this will bring blue skies over Coventry! I take back my initial positive thoughts..... please try again!
Post-war redevelopment
Greenman
Cumbria
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4 of 111  Thu 27th Jan 2011 7:14pm  
Member: Joined May 2010  Total posts:53

If the planners needed a template to help them to produce 'a city centre Coventry can be proud of' they need look no further than the photographs from the fifties and sixties on your Broadgate page.
Post-war redevelopment
dutchman
Spon End
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5 of 111  Fri 28th Jan 2011 1:32am  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3033

Could never see the attraction myself? Arrived here just as it was being completed and wondered what all the fuss was about? Always thought it was a barren and soulless place especially when the shops had closed. At that time I had no knowledge of the traditional shopping streets it had replaced. It should be remembered too that city centre precinct was the model for the disastrous shopping centre in Willenhall which ultimately had to be demolished due to social problems. I'll say one thing for the 1950s scheme as first delivered, it was still quite open and spacious then whereas today the planners consider it necessary to cram in as many high-rise buildings as space will allow making it feel claustrophobic and oppressive.
Post-war redevelopment
Greenman
Cumbria
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6 of 111  Tue 1st Feb 2011 5:06pm  
Member: Joined May 2010  Total posts:53

Sorry, I guess I didn't make myself clear. I was referring specifically to Broadgate, which in my opinion had genuine merit. However, I agree with you about the precincts, although on a sunny spring morning with the cherry trees in bloom, the Upper Precinct was pleasant enough.
Post-war redevelopment
BrotherJoybert
Coventry
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7 of 111  Thu 17th Feb 2011 5:14pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:119

Are two groups of people playing ring a ring o' roses in that image? Any scheme that maintains traditional nursery rhymes has my full support! ;)
Post-war redevelopment
creteskyblue
crete
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8 of 111  Sat 28th May 2011 8:12am  
Member: Joined May 2011  Total posts:46

It would be great for Broadgate to be restored to how it appeared in the late fifties & sixties with the grassed area & Lady Godiva sitting proudly in the middle of the island, in those days it was considered a sin if you ventured on to the island although with the traffic circling the island it was quite hazardous anyway. Unfortunately today's lack of respect for people & property by a minority of young & old people would probably mean if it did happen it would not be long before the grassed was destroyed, I am afraid we will have to wait until people's attitude change. Regards, creteskyblue.
Enjoy life,remember we walk this way but once.

Post-war redevelopment
InnisRoad
Hessle
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9 of 111  Mon 30th May 2011 8:42am  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:130

True as Coventry Blue. There's an old saying that stems from the Coventry ribbon industry. The blue dye was very characteristic and its shade was reckoned never to vary, hence the expression.
Regards Innis Road

Post-war redevelopment
The spirit of Coventry
Spain
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10 of 111  Wed 1st Jun 2011 8:57pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:81

Thanks for that, its true what you say about attitudes changing, I like the little saying. I have never heard of it before, every day is a school day!
Post-war redevelopment
InnisRoad
Hessle
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11 of 111  Fri 24th Jun 2011 3:55pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:130

If you look at any town or city in the country that has not been subject to significant redevelopment, what you see is a mixture of different styles of architecture spanning the centuries. What was good has lasted and what was bad was either pulled down or fell down. It has taken centuries for the character of the place to develop. Towns and cities that have been ravaged by the planners are generally uninteresting because there is little continuity or variety. Of course Coventry had to be rebuilt after the war. But it didn't have to be redeveloped. Take a look at Cologne, which suffered more bomb damage than Coventry. The City was rebuilt to the plans and drawings of the pre-war town. All the development there has taken place along side the old. The problem of narrow streets has largely disappeared because they have been pedestrianised. However, Coventry took the decision to redevelop, based largely on the booklet "The Future Coventry" which, I suspect from the drawing styles and general plans, was actually conceived before the war and the bombing simply led to an opportunity to go ahead. Having taken the decision, the Council should have stuck to its guns, as happened with places like Leamington Spa, Cheltenham and Bath in the 18th and 19th centuries. The 1950s City Centre development certainly had its faults, but to continually go from bad to bad, without allowing things to settle down and find their own equilibrium, is the worst of all options. Coventry has, unfortunately, destroyed much of its heritage. Before the war, there were approximately 660 timber framed buildings in the city. About 60 were destroyed by the bombing. All but a handful were destroyed by the council after the war. Worse still, Spon Street, which had fine examples of 18th ,19th and early 20th century buildings was itself largely destroyed to make room for some of the surviving timber framed buildings, which sit there totally out of place. My grandmother lived in one of the courts at the back of the shops in Spon Street, with top shops running the length of the cottages. These were all condemned as slums and pulled down to make way for the ring road, a singularly ineffective method of conveying traffic around the city. It is sad to see the City now. In the 1950s, it was still a proud city that had resurrected itself like the phoenix, but now it seems to be soulless. I still visit the city centre, but with a tinge of sadness.
Regards Innis Road

Post-war redevelopment
dutchman
Spon End
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12 of 111  Fri 24th Jun 2011 4:26pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3033

It didn't help that every time there was change of Chief City Architect, there was also a complete change of building style. The most striking example was when Donald Gibson was replaced by Arthur Ling. Gibson had a preference for low-rise buildings, often ignoring the existing street grid pattern while Ling favoured high-rise, albeit sticking rigidly to the existing street layout. Each had there own particular advantages and disadvantages but what we ended-up with was a complete mish-mash, the horizontal lines of buildings competing with the vertical for attention.
Post-war redevelopment
Mike H
London Ontario, Canada
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13 of 111  Mon 27th Jun 2011 9:54pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:454

Rob Orland said: .... what lazy, unimaginative designers we have!!!
I agree. The 50's and 60's Broadgate grew out of the ashes of war and should have been left the way it was, temporary shops and all. It was the only place I know where you could see old, new and in-between. The buses and cars could bring people right into the heart of the city, and gave it life, all looked over by the Lady Godiva. An ugly square surrounded by ugly new-ish and ugly newer is not a pleasing prospect at all, and will leave visitors to Coventry wondering what became of the historical and proud City..
Post-war redevelopment
flapdoodle
Coventry
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14 of 111  Sat 2nd Jul 2011 4:56pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2010  Total posts:832

Coventry has suffered hugely due to the atrocious plans and ideas by Gibson and all those that have followed. His decision to totally ignore the city's urban grid and destroy it has led to the dead city centre we have now. The ring road was ploughed through the city's streets without any real thought and was very poorly connected to the rest of the city centre, leading to a decline in traditional shopping streets. Broadgate's layout is absolutely baffling, with the Primark store and Broadgate House physically blocking the routes in and out, and the new Ironmonger Square is a blank, empty space and is linked so badly to Broadgate it's almost funny. West Orchards has an entrance down the back of a service area, and the precinct is poorly laid out with respect to the streets around it. From Corporation Street you have lovely views onto service areas. Coventry has no commercial areas with decent footfall or traffic. It consists of a decaying precinct that's designed back to front with odd routes taking you down to service areas, a two level scheme (Oddly, based on Medieval Chester!) that has never worked and still remains in the form of an idiotic ramp and an upper level that's no longer. Outside of that there are vast areas of land that have no access anymore or are just dead ends. As for Ling - I like his Belgrade Theatre, but why did he stick those towers in such idiotic positions? They block all the access points into the precinct! And later developments are equally bad. Priory Place is back to front, with no frontages anywhere visible, and has become another decaying isolated little enclave that struggles. Don't even get me started on "IKEA plaza" and that horrendous road outside, with nothing but blank walls on either side. This is a city centre, yet it is being developed more like a grim out of town retail park. After decades of poor planning, they are still trying to bring some life to place with these laughable attempts at paving over more areas (The existing paved areas are all dead and lifeless, such as the horrible one outside the Cathedral.) Until they address some of the problem caused by the ring road and Gibson's atrocious layout, the city will continue to decay. Cities rely only flow of people and direct visual links between traffic and buildings. The ringroad has made this virtually impossible. I preferred Broadgate a it was pre-war, with direct links to Hertford Street, the Burges and Trinity Street. The original position of Owen Owen was far better that the one they rebuilt, as it was in a landmark position between two major routes out of the city centre. Except those routes are now dead ends, one ends at the Ringroad, the other turns into that horrendous junction...
Post-war redevelopment
mattash
Rugby
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15 of 111  Sat 23rd Jul 2011 1:55pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2010  Total posts:592

I am a bit late with this but!!! I was born and bred in Coventry, i still consider myself a "Cov Kid". In the fifties I loved going to the old Library (now gone) and meeting up with my mates in Broadgate. From there we would go to where-ever took our fancy but Broadgate was always considered to be the heart of Coventry. Over the years Broadgate has suffered different attacks on it but managed to retain some of its dignity. Coming back to live in the Coventry area three years ago, I have taken great delight in renewing my acquaintance with my old City. Disliked some of the changes, the new shopping arcade in Broadgate for one. Another heart attack if you like but at least I could sit down to rest my feet (never needed to do that before) listen to the rustling of the leaves on the trees in the wind and wait for the hour to watch Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom. Things I still like today. However, on a trip to Cov on Thursday (21st July 2011) I was appalled to find Coventry City Council have lost their mind and ripped the heart out of the centre of Coventry, WHY OH WHY.
Post-war redevelopment

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