creation of 4,500 new jobs in the north of Coventry came a step nearer today with news
that Warwickshire County Council has secured a £5 million Euro grant.
The European Regional Development Fund cash is to go towards the re-development of the
Coventry Colliery and Homefire Plant site, which is expected to take five years.
Developers Prologis Kingspark Ltd, an American-owned Solihull-based company, together
with the county council, Coventry City Council and Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council
are to create a rail distribution park, along with office, manufacturing and residential
developments an £80 million scheme.
News of the grant has prompted Prologis, which had a half share in the site until last
year when it bought the remaining portion, to cut their application saving 20 acres of
green belt land.
Steve Johnson, infrastructure consultant for Prologis, said:
"This is wonderful news for everyone concerned. I have to say that I was somewhat
surprised by it I and an officer from the county council did all the work on the
application but I did not have great expectations because it is not easy to win this level
"We volunteered to cut the application by 20 acres. We do not want to take any
more land than necessary so we have decided to cut back.
"There will be a minimum of 2,000 jobs but that has nothing to do with the
creation of the development. Construction could involve anything between 400-500 jobs and
optimistically you could be talking about 4,500 in total.
"The grant is split into one quarter reclamation, one half covers infrastructure
and the remaining quarter legal and other costs."
The planning application should be heard before the end of March and then the Secretary
of State has the option of calling the scheme in for inspection. If that doesnt
happen then work will start before the end of April.
Coventry Citys £120 million Arena 2000 development in nearby Foleshill was not
called in for inspection and Mr Johnson said he hoped the colliery site would get the same
Councillor Derek Forwood, chair of Warwickshire County Councils Economic
Development Sub-Committee, said:
"We are delighted that this grant has been awarded. We are close to seeing a major
and positive transformation in the lives of local people, in their job prospects and the
quality of their environment.
"There is, however, a catch. European Commission rules mean that the grant offer
will be withdrawn if work on the site does not start in the second half of the year.
"We must make sure that we do not miss this opportunity to transform this part of
Coventry and Warwickshire for years to come."