Burges Coventry, UK
Burges is one of Coventry’s only remaining medieval streets in the city that survived the Second World War.
As part of Lady Herbert’s Garden Conservation Area, the areas provide one of the city centre’s rare glimpses of the River Sherbourne along Palmer Lane. In 2019 the project secured funding to act as a national demonstrator project for the High Streets Heritage Action Zone Program.
Following years of neglect to the buildings and public realm, we were commissioned by Coventry City Council and Historic Coventry Trust to develop a comprehensive masterplan that would help boost the local economy and engage directly with the community. Phased over several years, our masterplan would see the reinstatement of traditional shop frontages, improvements to the public realm, introduction of new buildings, derelict land and a new public square around the opening of the River Sherbourne.
Our project for the Burges forms the first phase of the masterplan.
A national spotlight was shone on the project when it became the first scheme to secure Heritage High Street Funding.
By breathing new life to this forgotten part of the city, the Burges Masterplan restores and regenerates this historic townscape by boosting the local economy and celebrating the city’s rich heritage.
As one of Coventry city’s few surviving pre-war streets, the masterplan covers three surviving historic streets; Burges, Palmer Lane and Hales Street. Their regeneration demanded a careful and sympathetic design approach, led by our in-house conservation architect.
The first phase of the project provides the careful restoration and installation of traditional shop fronts to Burges and Hales Street. Years of insensitive alterations to shop frontages were removed, with the aim of reinstating the original fabric of the buildings. Using traditional construction techniques, with modern advantages, each shop front was developed with business owners and tenants through engagement and consultation. Each frontage was provided with a bespoke and individual frontage as a testament to the original heritage approach.
A key phase of the masterplan includes the regeneration of the public realm along Palmer Lane which remains a very unloved and deteriorated part of the area. Our solution unlocked the River Sherbourne by introducing of a tiered seating area that allows the public to celebrate its presence. New build opportunities are introduced to infill the vacant areas and voids along the Lane, active frontage are introduced that will invigorate the street scene.
Our involvement extended to produce a comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan that was adopted by the local authority and now forms policy for the long-term strategy of the area.
Our in-house conservation architects helped developed the proposals for the refurbishment of all the frontages and repairs to the buildings existing fabric. In addition we
Developed 3 storey proposals for extension to the Palmer House Office building.
Provided a new build proposal for an event space serving the local community for use and events.
Created a proposal for a new mixed use residential and restaurant proposal fronting the new Palmer Lane Square.
A public consultation and engagement was carried out for the local community over 2 days. Historic England and The Coventry Society were consulted on proposals before submitted for planning.
Historic England chose Burges and Hales Street as a ‘national demonstrator’ for the national High Street Heritage Action Zone scheme and Coventry is showing the rest of the country just what heritage led regeneration can do.
Winner in the High Streets category at the 2021 Future Cities Forum awards.
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