[Issued 17/1/2017 by @Visit Coventry. additional information: Alan Denyer/07976 firstname.lastname@example.org]
Press release : removal of escalator petition
Upper Precinct Escalator petition to be presented to Full Council Meeting Tuesday 24th January 2017
A petition is shortly to be presented to the Full Council meeting to be attended by 54 Coventry City Councillors. The petition is the brainchild of Alan Denyer, a Coventry-based designer/developer and author of the Visit Coventry website (www.visitcoventry.net) - and is being sponsored by Cllr Roger Bailey, member for Cheylesmore consituency.
The petition calls for the Council to look at options for the removal - or re-location - of the Upper Precinct escalator so as to provide the basis for a ''Festival of Britain-styled makeover'' of the 'core precinct' area timed to co-incide with Coventry's City of Culture bid.
Mr Denyer believes that an escalator-free Upper Precinct could epitomise ''re-birth through culture'' - with a re-modelled central square providing possibilities for a unique new performance space, flanked as it is, by an expansive (but presently unused) first-floor viewing terrace.
It is also believed that the proposed redesign can capitalise on a current trend that has seen a positive re-appreciation of 1950s design and architecture.
It is envisaged that the Council would be able to bring together interested parties - such as the owners of West Orchards (Redefine International plc) - and JP Morgan, the new owners of Upper Precinct (purchased from Aviva Investments for £32m in December) - to help define a mutually beneficial workable plan, potentially incorporating an improved (both visually, and in terms of usability) existing ''ramp'' access from Broadgate, and - re-located - slimmed down - escalator (or lift) discretely hidden beneath upper terracing.
Supporters of the petition believe a re-energised precinct has the potential for creating significantly increased City Centre visits - with increased overall, and higher per person spending.
The scheme also provides basis for an exciting heritage-led re-imagining of 'brand Coventry' - adding the legacy of the city's many significant 'festival of britain-styled' buildings, set to a brave utopian re-plan that threw away the rule-book. Complementary to the Coventry 2021 bid, a new marketing theme is envisaged - with visual cues drawn from a blend of two strident Coventry ''golden ages'' that shaped the city we see today:- medieval, and post-war 'utopian'. (Suggested straps:- ''Coventry, City of Culture - since 1345'' and, ''Coventry, a medieval-modern masterpiece'' - sample creative approach shown below).
Commenting, Alan Denyer said:
''Coventry has many jewels in its crown, but the Upper Precinct escalator isn't one of them.
''If we take away the escalator as part of a Festival of Britain-styled makeover, the 'core precinct' will come shining through. It will enable a sort of 're-birth through culture', which is exactly what we need as part of the City of Culture bid.
'' While the removal - or re-location - of the escalator is a fairly major undertaking, I'd expect the majority of funding costs for improvements would come from JP Morgan/Redefine - as they stand to benefit hugely from an increase in visitor numbers.''
The e-petition will be kept open until 29th January and can be viewed on the Council's online petitions webpage http://myaccount.coventry.gov.uk/Petitions?title=Removal of escalator in Upper Precinct