Developers behind plans for a £50million superstore in Coventry have welcomed proposals to transform the south side of the city centre with a £300 million redevelopment programme.
Barberry Developments said 2012 is poised to be an exciting year for Coventry and for the company as it works alongside Coventry City Council to turn the Bishop Gate plans into reality.
The further planned improvements to City Centre South, and a £7 million investment in public realm projects, means the city is on course for a major transformation that will boost investment and employment prospects.
Barberry Developments director Henry Bellfield will join leading council officials when the city steps on to the international stage at the annual MIPIM property conference in Cannes, France next month (March).
The city has exhibited at MIPIM for the last 18 years and fully funds its presence through a partnership of private sector firms which have connections with the city. The show has helped to put the city firmly on the international commercial property map and played a direct part in attracting significant investment. Around 15 companies have contributed to the Coventry presence at MIPIM including Barberry Developments.
Barberry last year revealed its Bishop Gate proposals that could create hundreds of jobs for the city. Barberry purchased the 200,000 sq ft former Royal Mail Sorting Centre and adjoining properties, including 50 Bishop Street, last year and outline planning consent was granted by Coventry City Council for a large retail-led scheme.
Mr Bellfield welcomed the council’s plans in partnership with Aviva – the other major landowner – for a £300 million transformation of the city centre south covering Bull Yard, Shelton Square, City Arcade, Barracks car park and Hertford Street, which he said complemented his company’s own proposals.
The blueprint is based on the comments received from thousands of local people who took part in a ground-breaking consultation three years ago which resulted in the Jerde vision. The proposal reflects the city’s heritage and is partly inspired by the 1950s Gibson plan – recreating the iconic cross layout and better connecting Market Way, Hertford Street, IKEA and the market.
Meanwhile Barberry, a privately-owned development and investment company based in Worcestershire, has spent the last six months carrying out negotiations and vital research in order to ensure that the completed Bishop Gate scheme benefits the city residents and visitors for many years to come.
As a result, a slightly revised planning application will be made in due course following in-depth discussions with supermarket operators.
Mr Bellfield added: “This is a large city centre project and therefore, by its very nature, it’s quite complicated. Considerable positive progress has been made behind the scenes and we have had lengthy negotiations with supermarket operators which have led to some minor operational amendments to the proposals.
“The principal operator within the Bishop Gate project will be a supermarket and we continue to make excellent progress with a number of the operators. It is extremely important that, at this stage, we spend time working with each of the operators to create the best possible store for them and their customers. By doing this we will create a development that the people of Coventry will enjoy using not just in the short term but also the long term.
“It’s an exciting year for Coventry with the improvements already underway having a positive impact on visitors to the city. They are the perfect start to the big projects – City Centre South and our own Bishop Gate project which are to come. It is clear to see that the future for Coventry looks very bright indeed.”
Councillor Linda Bigham, Cabinet Member for City Development, said: “The Bishop Gate development is an important part of the transformation of our city centre so I am pleased that work is progressing and we can expect a detailed planning application soon. It will connect to all the rest of our work and will really transform a tired and run down area – improving the link to the canal basin.”