£20m boost to Coventry’s visitor economy through regeneration of heritage buildings

Historic Coventry Trust is working closely with the Council to create a renewed focus on the tourism sector in the city

(Left to right) CW Champions Place Manager Nic Erskine, Gavin Ashe (Kite Packaging), Carol Pyrah (Historic Coventry Trust), Les Ratcliffe (CW Place Board), Emma Harrabin (FarGo Village) and Martin Sutherland (Coventry City of Culture Trust).

Coventry’s dynamic heritage charity has outlined the significant boost to the area’s visitor economy that will result from its projects in the run-up to UK City of Culture in 2021.

The announcement by Historic Coventry Trust that almost £20 million will be invested in the regeneration of heritage buildings and landscapes by 2021 was made to over 150 of the region’s leading business figures at a Coventry and Warwickshire Champions event. 

Delegates came together to celebrate Coventry and Warwickshire at the CW Champions event, held at The Box at FarGo Village in Coventry, which has recently opened as a new event and conference space in the city. 

Carol Pyrah, Executive Director of Historic Coventry Trust, presented the charity’s ambitious list of projects which are set to revitalise historic sites in the city centre as visitor attractions and unique places to stay.

Carol, who moved to the Trust from a senior position at Historic England in the summer, explained how the entrepreneurial nature of the organisation was attracting national attention.  

She said: “The scale of the transfer of 22 properties from the Council is much bigger than anything that has gone before in the UK and the timescale within which the projects are being delivered is astounding for the charity sector – I leapt at the chance to be a part of it.”

“Historic Coventry Trust is working closely with the Council to create a renewed focus on the tourism sector in the city,” she said. 

“The investment includes the restoration of some of the city’s oldest buildings dating back to the 1300s, but more importantly it brings them back into a use that boosts the city centre economy and creates jobs.  

“Too often heritage is seen as a liability, but in many ways, these were exceptional assets just waiting to happen.”

Delegates at the event also heard from Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of Coventry City of Culture 2021, who outlined his successful career in the arts industry around the country, leading him to his current role. 

The speaker line-up also featured Gavin Ashe, Managing Partner of Kite Packaging, an employee-owned global packaging company which will be further investing in Coventry as they look to expand with new global headquarters in the city over the next few years. 

Les Ratcliffe, chair of the CW Place Board, said: “With this being our final Champions event of the year, we wanted to bring together a really interesting mix of speakers to look at the key upcoming investments and updates happening in the city over the coming year. 

“It was also a great opportunity to showcase a great new venue for the city at The Box at FarGo Village which the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership is proud to have part-funded.”

For more information on Coventry and Warwickshire Champions, coventry-warwickshire.co.uk/champions.