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[29 JAN 99]  POLITICS NEWS
New Stadium  - The City's Jewel

Minister for the Regions Richard Caborn today heralded Coventry City’s new stadium as a "jewel in the crown".

The minister, who was one of the government officials who ruled a planning inquiry into the 120 million development was unnecessary, was in Coventry to launch The Chamber.

He is a keen Sheffield United fan – he last visited the city to watch his side in the FA Cup last season – said the new super arena would attract international interest.

"The plan came across my desk and I must have cleared it a few weeks ago now. We have had a very good dialogue with the local authority and I believe it will be a jewel in the crown.

"I have to admit it is quite innovatory and it is one that will be watched and not just in the United Kingdom.

"It serves a number of purposes. It has enabled us to build on some of the worst polluted land in the West Midlands, it has made sure you have a stadium which could play a role in the World Cup, and it is a stadium that will set the trend for new stadia.

"You can close the roof, take the pitch out, use it for many other purposes. That, from my point of view, is much more sustainable because at the moment football grounds are used for a couple of hours very fortnight.

"What we want to do is that developments of this nature are used in a much more sustainable way."

Caborn was in the Midland for the first meeting of the Regional Chamber held at the Coventry City Council headquarters. The new administration is made up of 42 councillors from across the region, nine business representatives and nine other "stakeholders".

The new body will oversee the work of the Regional Development Agency – but could be the precursor to more devolved government.

The minister said:

"It is about the devolution of power to the regions and how best they can use it. This like land-use planning, spatial planning and transport planning have to be used more effectively."
  

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CWN / Politics / 29 Jan 99 / New Stadium  - The City's Jewel

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