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[19 OCT 99] COVENTRY CITY COUNCIL NEWS
Phoenix Inquiry Gets Underway

The biggest public inquiry for several years in Coventry is under way into the controversial Phoenix Initiative, which will carve a huge swathe through the city centre.

The City Council has already begun work on the 43 million scheme to open up a vista from Holy Trinity Church to Hales Street and fill it with gardens, piazzas, walkways and an innovative millennium clock.

It faces powerful opposition from big business however, notably Sainsburys, Gala Bingo and Britannia Hotels whose premises will be affected by the grandiose plan.

GALA BINGO - FORMERLY THE HIPPODROME THEATRE
GALA BINGO - FORMERLY THE HIPPODROME THEATRE
- ONE OF THE BUILDINGS DUE FOR DEMOLITON

The council is confident however of finding a way past their objections. Gala Bingo, in the former Coventry Theatre building in Hales Street, is scheduled for demolition along with the Smithfield Hotel opposite which was a favourite haunt of the actors and entertainers appearing on stage.

Gala have lodged an objection on the grounds that they have been offered no suitable alternative premises.

Britannia Hotel in Fairfax Street had objected to the impact the new scheme would have on their business, particularly when the Fairfax Street multi-storey car park is demolished. Sainsburys have lodged a similar objection.

The Britannia Hotel however withdrew their objection at the eleventh hour in an announcement made at the start of the inquiry.

In simple terms the Phoenix Initiative will construct Priory Place and Priory Gardens adjacent to Holy Trinity Church, a pedestrian walkway linking the church with the motor museum and featuring public art, a vast public square to be known as Millennium Place, a garden of international friendship and the Millennium Clock.

The Millennium Commission will donate 10 million to the 43 million total cost of the whole scheme. 22 million will come from private sector contribution and the City Council will find 11 million.

The City Council has already started work at the Holy Trinity end of the project and dare not contemplate losing the public inquiry which is held by a Government inspector and is scheduled to last four days.
     

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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 19 Oct 99

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