City Council attacks Coventry 'Flying-saucer' listing
The decision to list Coventry’s modernist retail market has set back the city’s £1billion regeneration proposals, authority officials have claimed
Coventry City Council’s cabinet member for city development Gary Ridley said last week’s surprise move to grant the 1957 market hall a Grade-II listing, based on English Heritage (EH) advice, made it ‘much more difficult to develop [the city centre plot] as we would have liked to.’
Under the current proposals, drawn up by US architects the Jerde Partnership (see bottom right), the saucer-shaped building would have been pulled down and the traders relocated to a ‘much better position’ which recognised the market’s ‘role s a true anchor in the city’.
Ridley added: ‘We are very disappointed to hear English Heritage wants to make Coventry Market a listed building and we will be taking it up with them to understand why they think this is a positive move for the people of Coventry, the traders and our future regeneration plans.
‘Local people and traders helped us to draw up a very exciting plan for the market within the Jerde masterplan and we will continue to do our best to turn that into a reality despite the fact that the listing makes it more difficult.’
It is understood the council is considering whether to appeal agianst the listing decison.
PREVIOUS STORY: 19 June 2009
Coventry’s ‘Flying-saucer’ shaped market gets Grade II listing
The modernist, covered Coventry Retail Market has been recognised as part of England’s cultural heritage and been listed at Grade II
Built in 1957, the market provided a much-needed shopping area for the city following the destruction of several commercial zones during World War Two.
The building is still operational today, with many of the same families owning stalls. Its ‘key role in fostering a community spirit’ has now been recognised and the government has given it a grade II listing, on the reccommendation of English Heritage.
Designed by Douglas Beaton, Ralph Iredale and Ian Crawford from Coventry City’s own Architect’s Department, the market includes a vibrant interior with painted murals and sun motif mosaic.
Deborah Porter, from English Heritage, said: ‘The market has all the essential elements of rarity and architectural, technological and historic interest that make it listable, but the interior is particularly remarkable. The impressive Socialist Realist-style murals by East-German artists show humans and animals in farming and industrial scenes and are very unusual in England. It was one of the first buildings to have a roof-top car park, and for that reason too it is special.’