Published Wednesday, 04 August 2021
Coventry’s heritage and its future will be reflected in new public art which is set to be unveiled as part of the £82 million redevelopment of Coventry Station.
The major infrastructure programme, which is set to be completed later this year, will feature vinyl artwork on the main concourse windows of the existing station by artist Christopher Tipping.
A new embroidered ‘Welcome to Coventry’ sign from local artists Charis Esther and Luisa Freitas which has involved dozens of community groups producing embroidery work will form a mural at the station.
There will also be a nature-inspired parklet which will provide architectural seating and planting on platform one which is being delivered by Creative Giants.
In addition, work is about to start on a refurbishment programme for the existing Grade II listed railway station building.
The refurbishment works are being managed by Avanti West Coast, with funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), Rail Heritage Trust and Coventry City Council.
There will be a deep clean of roof lights on platform one, refurbishment of heritage mural wall tiles, anti-slip treatment of the original flooring, new signage on the station façade, and the ‘Welcome to Coventry’ sign on platform four will be replaced.
The project team is working with the Rail Heritage Trust which has contributed towards the refurbishment of the building’s heritage features.
Tony Minhas, CWLEP board director, said: “There is a tremendous amount of work going on to improve Coventry Station which will lead to a vastly-improved building and surroundings for passengers.
“Transforming infrastructure and laying the foundations for a green, sustainable future are among the key priorities of the CWLEP’s Strategic Reset Framework.
“The completion of the Coventry Station project will support Coventry and Warwickshire’s green recovery and this infrastructure project will have a key part to play in welcoming visitors to the city throughout the UK City of Culture.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the public art as well since it will fit in perfectly with all the related activities taking part in the area over the next 12 months.”
Cllr David Welsh, cabinet member for housing and communities at Coventry City Council, said: “I’m really pleased that we are adding some temporary art at the original station building. The art on the big glazing panels will look good by day and night and its packed with lots of images from the city’s past and present.
“It will have real impact and it’s another fine example of how art can be integrated into spaces and places for our year as City of Culture and beyond.”
Coventry City Council has also been awarded a further £350,000 in funding from Avanti West Coast’s Customer and Communities Investment Scheme, to improve cycle links to the railway station, contribute towards a new secure cycle hub in the new station and help with an artist-led project to transform a derelict courtyard space on platform one between the passengers waiting room and Starbucks into a usable space for passengers.
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change at Coventry City Council and CWLEP board director, said: “The station work is looking really smart. The car park with its traditional signage has already settled into the skyline and I’m sure the temporary art works will be a big hit too.
“Coventry Station will soon be a good mix of the old and the new – proving that they can sit side by side and giving a warm Coventry welcome to visitors.
“People will be able to enjoy a short, direct walk to the city centre – a million miles away from the network of subways that had to be negotiated not that long ago.
“The transformation is really amazing and soon we will have the kind of station the city deserves.”
Maria McCarron, Avanti West Coast Station Manager at Coventry, said: “The regeneration of the existing station building alongside work on the new station is really exciting and we are proud to be supporting this latest phase of the redevelopment, which will help to create a welcoming gateway to Coventry.
“Working in partnership with Coventry City Council, we will soon be delivering projects that will enhance the overall experience at the station – with artwork, improved facilities for cyclists and better connectivity with local cycle routes.
“These improvements will not only make a difference for visitors to the UK’s City of Culture but to people travelling to and from Coventry station and the local community for many years to come.”
Coventry City Council is working in partnership with Network Rail, Avanti West Coast and other rail operators, Transport for West Midlands, bus operators, Friargate JV Project Ltd and other stakeholders on the £82 million Coventry Station Masterplan.
The scheme is being funded through £39.4 million from the West Midlands Combined Authority Devolution Deal and £27.5 million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the CWLEP and funds from Coventry City Council.
The steelwork frame is now complete for the new station building and car park, and work is progressing to complete the feature cladding and glazing.
Contractors have also started the internal fit-out of the new building, which will include five shops, passenger waiting facilities, customer toilets and a changing place facility. A new secure cycle hub will also be provided alongside electric vehicle charging points.
The crane in Station Square has now been removed, allowing work to start on the new set-down loop between the two station buildings.
The new pedestrian boulevard opened earlier this month, following the permanent closure of Station Square, creating a traffic-free route from the front of the station to Greyfriars Green. A new visitor information pod on the boulevard is also now open and welcoming visitors to the city.
Work is also underway on the new transport interchange which will be located directly next to the access tunnel to the west of Warwick Road, next to Central Six retail park.
Sustainable bus stops with green roofs and solar charging points will be provided in the new facility, which will incorporate bespoke artwork linked to the station window artwork by artist Christopher Tipping.