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[18 FEB 99] HERITAGE NEWS
Phoenix Protesters Are 'Battle Weary'

A leading protester against Coventry’s Phoenix Boulevard fears supporters may be becoming "battle weary" but has vowed to fight on.

Michael Newman, who heads the Hippodrome Appreciation Society, has been one of the main voices against the council project but is now convinced some business people have given up the fight.

Work has now started on the 20 million scheme jointly funded by Coventry City Council and the Millennium Commission.

The project, which will be the largest construction programme since the city centre was rebuilt after the wartime blitz, involves demolishing dozens of buildings in the Hales Street area to make way for squares and piazzas stretching from the Cathedral to Cook Street Gate by the Inner Ring Road

Mr Newman said he still hopes to halt the council’s progress and believes he has widespread support.

"Around 7,000 people signed a petition and we still believe people feel the same way. If there is a public inquiry we will aim to have it in a large venue like the Central Hall so people can have their say.

"But yesterday I was going along Fairfax Street delivering our newsletter and I sensing there that business people are taking compensation and getting out before the compulsory purchase orders.

"I think they are getting a little battle weary over it all. It takes a lot effort to keep fighting on and I think there is a lot of stress on the people with businesses there.

"But I will keep on battling. In that area you have the bingo hall, Sainsbury’s, The Museum of Road Transport and the Smithfield and they are all important areas of community activity. There are rarely empty shops in that area of the town and there is no comparison with Bull Yard or the Lower Precinct. It should stay."
    

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CWN / Heritage / 18 Feb 99

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