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Coventry invites architects to square up to cathedral

A competition to create and refurbish squares for Coventry has been launched, and may include landscape, water features and lighting similar to some of the world's most famous squares.

The competition will be the latest scheme in £150 million worth of regeneration in the city. The three squares are all in or near the historic heart of the city, near Sir Basil Spence's Coventry Cathedral. The existing Broadgate Square is currently choked by traffic and hemmed in by shops and cafes. The aim is to turn it into a Covent Garden-style area with performance spaces and alfresco eating.

The new Council House Square and Priory Street Square may have fountains and piazzas 'like Europe's finest squares', said the council's principal urban designer, Andrew Telford. Some £3 million will be spent on each square and leading public artists will work with the designers. 'We are exploring grants and involvement with English Partnerships,' Telford said.

The council has appointed Urban Initiatives to masterplan the squares and wants multi-disciplinary practices to take on all or individual squares. Five will be shortlisted by competitive interview and will be given around 40 days to come up with proposals for a final choice in April or May. Work is due to start at the end of this year. Deadline for applications is 23 March 1999. Contact Telford or urban designer Helen Donnelly on 01203 831266.

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