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Farrell unveils vast Coventry masterplan - image

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Terry Farrell unveiled his ambitious masterplan for the regeneration of an 8ha site around Coventry Station at a mock CABE design review at MIPIM this morning.

The Friargate scheme, which will create 200,000 million m2 of office space, 50,000 m2 of retail space and 750 homes on the plot south of the city, came under the scrutiny of the CABE commissioners at a public event to showcase the panel's work.

Backed by developer Cannon Kirk, the project aims to reconnect the Grade-II listed station with the city centre by 'decking over' part of Coventry's ring road - described as a restrictive 'concrete collar.'

A new public space outside the station and improved access through Friars Green were also mooted.

Project director Eugene Dreyer, who presented the scheme, admitted that 'major issues still need to be resolved' before the masterplan can get off the ground, including possible funding difficulties.

However, the proposals were generally applauded by the design review panel, which raised only a handful of questions about the possible impact of the shops on the city centre, the detailing, density and proposed uses.

Farrell said: 'This is an extraordinary opportunity for Coventry. For the first time in its history we are integrating the station with the city centre, and creating one of the most vibrant and walkable cities in Europe.'

It is hoped the first phase, including 13,000 m2 of office buildings, could be complete as early as autumn 2008.

by Richard Waite

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