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Safeguarding Coventry’s Heritage into the Future

What is thought to be one of the largest ever single transfers of historic buildings from a local authority to a community heritage organisation was announced by Coventry City Council, and the Historic Coventry Trust in November 2017.

The transfer of 27 heritage assets - 22 individual properties and five adjoining sites - to the Historic Coventry Trust will kick-start an ambitious five year, £30 million programme which will see the buildings repaired and found new, sustainable re-uses - many of which will receive funding from Historic England through the Coventry Heritage Action Zone.

Non-Conformist Chapel in London Road Cemetery, Coventry
The Grade II* Listed Non-Conformist Chapel in London Road Cemetery, Coventry © Historic England

The buildings tell the story of 500 years of Coventry’s history, from two 14th-century monasteries to a row of 19th-century shops in a conservation area, and include:  

  • 13 properties, mostly shops, in The Burges conservation area
  • The Charterhouse Heritage Park, Coach House and Charterhouse Fields 
  • Drapers Hall
  • The Anglican Chapel in London Road Cemetery
  • The Non-Conformist Chapel in London Road Cemetery
  • 3 to 5 Priory Row (three properties known as the Lychgate Cottages)
  • Swanswell Gatehouse
  • Cook Street Gatehouse
  • Whitefriars Gatehouse and adjoining land (comprising three properties)
  • Whitefriars Monastery and adjoining land

Some of the buildings have an on-going economic use, such as the row of shops in The Burges. This transfer of economic use, as well as the buildings themselves, is what makes the initiative ground-breaking.

The Historic Coventry Trust, which operates on social enterprise principles, is fund-raising to support the reuse of the buildings which will boost Coventry’s visitor economy and generate revenue for the buildings’ long term maintenance. The Trust will be able to borrow funds to supplement grants for conservation work. This is an example of what Historic England has been promoting through its guidance on heritage asset transfer - Pillars of the Community

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