A neglected area of Coventry city centre could be transformed – and hundreds of jobs could be created – after proposals for an exciting new multi-million-pound superstore were given the go-ahead by planners.

West Midlands-based Barberry Developments’ ambitious proposals for the £50 million Bishop Gate development were granted outline planning consent by Coventry City Council’s planning committee today (Thursday, June 2).

The company purchased the 200,000 sq ft former Royal Mail Sorting Centre and adjoining properties, including 50 Bishop Street, last year and submitted an application seeking planning permission for a large and comprehensive retail-led scheme on the site. The development will be known as Bishop Gate. Barberry is a privately-owned development and investment company established in 1991 and is based in Belbroughton, Worcestershire.

Henry Bellfield, director of Barberry Developments, said: “We are grateful for the support of the planning committee and that they share our vision of transforming this part of Coventry city centre with the Bishop Gate development.

“Following the closure of the Royal Mail Sorting Office this part of the city centre is in desperate need of new investment and redevelopment.  We are pleased that we can now press ahead with our proposals which are very exciting and will create hundreds of jobs for local people. ”

He added: “We will continue to work closely with the council on the scheme to incorporate a supermarket superstore, a fitness/leisure centre and associated on-site car parking.”

Councillor Linda Bigham, Coventry City Council’s cabinet member for city development, said: “This is great news for Coventry and it shows the belief that there is out there in our city.  It will transform a tired area of the city centre and create local jobs for local people – so it really is good news all around.”

It is hoped that work could begin on site later this year. The existing Royal Mail building will be demolished. The proposals include removing the pedestrian bridge across the ring road to the canal basin and replacing it with a ground level crossing, improving the connectivity of the city centre and the canal basin.

Councillor Kevin Maton, chair of planning committee said, “Planning has a key role to play in ensuring that major developments like this are appropriate for the location and are the right scale and size.  We also like to ensure that they contribute to the local community so we welcome their proposal to invest over £70,000 in improvements to the canal tow path.”

Mr Bellfield added: “Coventry City Council has been very positive in terms of supporting the development proposals. There is a positive sentiment in the council and officers and councillors are motivated to see great things happen. We believe our development fits in perfectly with the regeneration master-plan for the city centre which sets out the council’s vision for the future.”

The development proposals include:

·                 A supermarket superstore of up to 130,000 sq ft including a mezzanine level.

·                 585 car parking spaces on three levels.

·                 Gym/leisure facility with swimming pool in 20,000 sq ft unit.

·                 Boulevard-style pedestrianised zones.

·                 Landscaping including trees, high quality street furniture and paving.

·                 An 8,000 sq ft ‘green’ roof.

·                 Vehicle access off junction one of the ring road into Tower Street.

·                 Pedestrian crossing link to canal basin, replacing the existing footbridge.