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pixrobin
Canley
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1 of 17  Thu 26th Jan 2017 10:57pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2014  Total posts:991

With the first 'artist impressions' being shown in the Coventry Telegraph in the past day or two it has raised a few questions in my brain. First of all the idea of the spaces being open to the air surely makes it less commercially viable - especially with our English climate. It looks 'pretty' in the summer sunshine but dreary on rainy days. Wouldn't an enclosed shopping mall offer more footfall? And, of course, that begs the question of whether more footfall produces more sales? My feeling is that with a row of shops on a pedestrianised street it merely encourages window shopping. It takes a lot more to get the shopper to step over the threshold. In a shopping mall there is not the same barrier. The atmosphere within the shop is very similar to that in the mall. And with all this, they are getting rid of the Brutalist architecture of the Bull Yard just as it is coming back into fashion.
City Centre South
AD
Allesley Park
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2 of 17  Fri 27th Jan 2017 3:04pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:384

Actually I'd say it's more likely to get people over the threshold in inclement weather. At the moment if you're walking along a covered section, like Hertford St, the arcade, the lower precinct or even under the canopied sections of shops, you have no need to step into a shop in the rain because you can stay dry anyway - you can window shop. If it starts chucking it down in an uncovered area you look for shelter and will inevitably result in people nipping into shops. Yes, they may only browse while waiting for the rain and may not actually buy anything, but there's a greater chance of them doing so if they're actually in the shop in the first place. I'm sure many people have ended up getting a drink or a snack from a cafe they had no intention of getting to avoid bad weather - I know I have. Also, the covered sections like Hertford St feel more uncomfortable for more people - slightly claustrophobic - and also is the place you're more likely to be accosted by beggars, chuggers and surveys because they're protected too. Besides which it just adds more light and airyness to the place if it's open. Now, you could argue that if you're thinking of going into town and it starts raining it may put you off. But personally it puts me off going in even if the area I'll be walking around is covered. It's just dismal, depressing and I just don't feel in the mood to go out full stop. Although I've not researched it I would suggest spending increases during sunny, warm weather even in a covered space like a mall (not counting Xmas) Malls work well for developers, not cities. They keep patrons in their little area - they don't want them wandering off and spending money in someone else's development. Most of the West Orchard trade is drive into the WO car park, get stuff from WO, get in the car and drive back home again. Same as how retail parks works. Streets, especially ones with legible routes and clear sightlines, work better for towns and cities - they get people moving around and thus gives new and small businesses a chance to get trade and grow. It's better for competition. There are things about the CCS plan that I feel could be improved. I have my doubts that that much could be done with a £300m budget and some bits of that render don't quite sit right - like the elevation difference along Hertford St and why the market is now a complete circle. But I feel it is so far the best plan that has been put forward - more integrated than the original CCS plan and not head-in-the-clouds nonsense like the Jerde plan Edited by member, 27th Jan 2017 3:12 pm
City Centre South
flapdoodle
Coventry
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3 of 17  Fri 27th Jan 2017 7:33pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2010  Total posts:825

I think this is an excellent plan. It gets rid of terrible mess of squares and arcades in that area, creates something that resembles a high street and hides the market. It also appears to attempt to create a more varied streetscape with different sizes and styles. I doubt many people will miss the current Market Way, City Arcade or Bull Yard.
City Centre South
Osmiroid
UK
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4 of 17  Fri 27th Jan 2017 9:15pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2013  Total posts:275

Will the city centre ever stop being a perpetual building site?
City Centre South
Slim
Coventry a bit
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5 of 17  Sat 28th Jan 2017 10:47am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:362

Some interesting points here. As a little boy, in the era when we had severe winters every year, I hated trudging through town with my parents, partly because I was bored, and partly because of the cold. I remember thinking about the lower precinct, and imagining the whole open area being covered by a roof, albeit wooden beams and tongue-and-groove boards, to protect shoppers from the rain. Then I dismissed the idea as pure fantasy - it would cost too much, and was therefore impossible to implement, and would never happen in my lifetime. The more recent "mall" is, I believe, something that has come from America. They seem to go a bundle on "the mall". AD points out "Also, the covered sections like Hertford St feel more uncomfortable for more people - slightly claustrophobic - and also is the place you're more likely to be accosted by beggars, chuggers and surveys because they're protected too." That may be true in Coventry, but in Royal Leamington Spa (Royal does sound posh, doesn't it?), most of the shops are in open streets, and beggars are everywhere, making it virtually impossible to get out of your car and go into a shop without being hassled by requests for "got any spare change guv?" to fund their drug/cigarette/boozing addiction. One bloke even partially crosses the street and will shout at you from the middle of the main road. They are all over Leamington, not just the rougher areas. Sleeping in shop doorways, begging, swigging alcoholic drinks form dawn till dusk, and using the pavements and doorways as toilets in broad daylight as well as night-time. It used to be illegal to beg in public or booze the in town centre - maybe those practices have been legalised; that's the impression given by the police - let's face it, when did I last see a police officer on the beat in Leamington, or Kenilworth for that matter? Now Kenilworth is only a few miles away, but is completely different. Until last week, the most you saw was a lone girl trying to sell a magazine: "Beeg eee-shoe plizz". But yesterday I saw two scruffy-looking blokes, swigging form cans of ale or cider, furtively loitering outside Wilcos, and being very vociferous. What will the neighbours think?
City Centre South
Slim
Coventry a bit
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6 of 17  Sat 28th Jan 2017 10:49am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:362

On 27th Jan 2017 9:15pm, Osmiroid said: Will the city centre ever stop being a perpetual building site?
I doubt it. Where I work (Coventry, but away from the city centre) it gets bigger and bigger every year, and has often been described as a permanent building site.
City Centre South
AD
Allesley Park
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7 of 17  Sat 28th Jan 2017 1:50pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:384

On 27th Jan 2017 9:15pm, Osmiroid said: Will the city centre ever stop being a perpetual building site?
I hope not. Over time needs change, industries die and are replaced by new ones who need different facilities. New technologies that quickly become part of everyday life are invented. Methods of construction, materials etc are forever evolving that provide benefits. If the city centre ever stops being a perpetual building site it is because it's dead. Edited by member, 28th Jan 2017 1:51 pm
City Centre South
Primrose
USA
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8 of 17  Sat 28th Jan 2017 2:11pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:189

Covered malls seem to have gone out of fashion a little here in the US - now the trend is towards retail/residential developments with a cinema, hotel and so on. This is our local one: Avalon It's always heaving with people and it's not yet fully developed but I do wonder what will happen in an economic downturn. It's poached several stores from the mall and is very popular with teenagers. The clothing stores, however, seem to have a limited range of clothes because, as the parent of a teenager told me, "You don't go to Avalon to shop, you go to walk up and down and look at things." Before we left Massachusetts to move to Georgia, an open-air shopping center opened in Lynnfield and was an immediate success even with the ferocious winters. I can't explain the attraction of either type of development - the shops are always part of a chain, whether high-end or not, and there's no original or unique quality about them. Then again, I haven't been a teenager for a long time!
City Centre South
Osmiroid
UK
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9 of 17  Sat 28th Jan 2017 2:25pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2013  Total posts:275

At least Centre Point is going to be demolished so that's excellent news, and something is going to be done about the Hertford Street Constipation, although I'm guessing the bank wont be relieved of its parasite due to parasite being protected?
City Centre South
flapdoodle
Coventry
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10 of 17  Sat 28th Jan 2017 5:45pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2010  Total posts:825

Shopping malls were a European idea. The US build many 'out of town' as suburbs grew ('Edge Cities') but a small percentage these days are 'dead malls' and a growing number are in trouble with substantial empty units.
City Centre South
Old Lincolnian
Coventry
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11 of 17  Sat 28th Jan 2017 8:13pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2012  Total posts:444

One thing that is noticeable in Coventry is a lack of seats under cover (there are plenty open to the elements). My wife and her friend go into the centre a couple of times a week during summer but, as they both have walking difficulties, they have to have a sit down on a regular basis. This is no problem when the weather is good but if the weather is inclement it is difficult to find some where to sit for a few minutes that is sheltered and not in a cafe. The result is they don't go to the city centre as often and for as long as they would like, so do not spend that much money there as their visits in winter,or bad weather, tend to be quite short. Much of the sheltered seating has been removed (eg Cathedral Lanes and Hertford Street). I know of quite a few other people with the same problem so surely any plan to improve the city centre should include plenty of sheltered as well as open seating.
City Centre South
pixrobin
Canley
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Thread starter
12 of 17  Tue 23rd May 2017 9:10pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2014  Total posts:991

I have just put up a slideshow on YouTube re Coventry South. Guess I'll get a few brickbats Smile Smile
City Centre South
flapdoodle
Coventry
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13 of 17  Wed 24th May 2017 8:18pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2010  Total posts:825

Some great photos there. The concrete pillars are interesting. I believe that in the post-war years, they didn't really know how to style it so they used it like wood. A friend of mine who is an architect told me this once when were visiting the royal festival hall where you can see that the concrete has been fashioned and joined like wood. The bolted on canopies they added in the 1990s are horrible. Edited by member, 24th May 2017 8:18 pm
City Centre South
Billybobs
South Warwickshire
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14 of 17  Wed 24th May 2017 8:40pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:19

Pixrobin - many thanks for that short clip, many memories came flooding back as I do not get to Coventry very often, and when I do, I don't go to that part of the City. It is amazing what a clear day can do to the cityscape. You have also demonstrated what can be seen when we take time to survey the scene around us and stop taking things for granted. Well done and thank you
City Centre South
Billybobs
South Warwickshire
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15 of 17  Thu 25th May 2017 7:26pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:19

Following on from my previous blog. Today unexpectedly we had to go to Coventry visiting relations in care homes. The first was close to the London Road and then over to Keresley, including the ride around the ring road - gosh how everything has changed. I think a trip is due, just go to old haunts and walk around the Precinct with eyes wide open and appreciate what Pixrobin sees through his lens. Will try to coincide with breakfast meet.
City Centre South

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