Tree planting starts in Urban Park

Tree planting starts in Urban Park

A major investment in planting to create a new urban park in Coventry is starting to put down roots.

Work has begun on planting mature trees at the new Linear Park which will form a 700m environmental corridor from Belgrade Plaza in the city centre, passing under the ring road and connecting to communities to the north.

Regeneration specialists Complex Development Projects (CDP) received planning permission for the new park in July last year and work commenced on the major landscaping project last month, following completion of remediation works to the former industrial site in Abbotts Lane.

The regeneration is supported by the West Midlands Combined Authority which has invested over £2 million in the landscaping project as part of the wider ambition to transform the area into a new, high-quality residential district.

Work is already underway on the naturalisation of Naul’s Mill pond as a new wetland habitat for wildlife and the planting of over 1,000 trees and saplings and 23,000 shrubs have now commenced.

The construction of the park is being undertaken by the UK’s leading grounds maintenance and landscape creation specialists Idverde UK, which has its headquarters in Coventry. The design of the project has been led by landscape architects, Barton Wilmore.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, who is standing for re-election in May, visited the developing park to plant the first tree on the 5.5-acre site.

A new water feature recreating the natural Radford Brook through the Abbotts Lane site will be the focal point of the landscaping, with a feature bridge and new tree-lined avenues on either side.

Trees will also line the entrance to the site from the underpass under the ring road which is being transformed with a new climbing wall, performance amphitheatre, planting and feature lighting. To the north, a raised central circle surrounded by new trees will provide a new seating area and play space.

Naul’s Mill pond is being naturalised, changing the underused model boating lake into a natural pool with improved waterflow, sloped banks and aquatic plants to encourage wildlife.

The park will also provide new pedestrian and cycle routes from the north of the city as part of the planned residential districts eco-credentials.

Katie Burn, senior development executive at CDP, said Linear Park was now really starting to take shape.

“It was great to welcome Andy Street to the Abbotts Lane site to plant the first tree. This is a spectacular project that will make a major change in access to the city centre from Coundon and Radford.  The linear park will break the concrete collar of the ring road and link the beautiful Naul’s Mill Park directly with the city centre for everyone to enjoy,” she said.

“Planting will continue over the coming months, with the work in Naul’s Mill park expected to be completed by early summer and the whole route completed by September.

“In Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture, we think the park is a great opportunity to showcase the city’s sustainability agenda and is a fantastic legacy project that can be enjoyed by residents and visitors of all ages for generations to come.”

West Midlands Mayor Conservative candidate Andy Street said: “It was a real honour to plant the first tree in such an exciting and visionary project to create a green corridor right in the heart of Coventry.

“With City of Culture just around the corner, there is so much going on which is reinventing the city centre, from the rejuvenated railway station to the Telegraph Hotel.

“This scheme will bring nature into the urban centre of the city, passing right underneath the ring road, creating something which local people will be able to enjoy for generations to come.

“It’s also great to see that a Coventry company is undertaking the construction of the park. I’m delighted to have been able to support it.”

Coventry’s first permanent indoor street food venue to open at FarGo Village

Coventry’s first permanent indoor street food venue to open at FarGo Village

Coventry’s first permanent indoor street food venue is set to be unveiled this spring when the city becomes UK City of Culture.

FarGo Village is planning to open ‘Factory’ in mid-May once Government restrictions allow food and drinks businesses to operate inside and outside.

Factory will be a food hub, bringing together high-quality, local and national favourites from the street food world; from award-winning burgers, handmade woodfired pizzas and brownies alongside hot drinks and brunch during the day, and cocktails and beers in the evening.

This exciting new venue is combining three of the biggest units at the Creative Quarter, to create one open-plan dining experience with an industrial vibe reflecting the history of the space, which was used as a car radiator factory by Coventry Motor Fittings for 60 years from the turn of the century.

There will also be a new roof terrace and covered canopy for diners to enjoy eating outdoors while COVID and social distancing measures remain in place.

Factory is also wanting to recruit a Food and Beverages Manager to oversee the 340 seating operation.

The £360,000 renovation at FarGo Village has in part been funded by Arts Council England and the Cultural Capital Investment Fund, which includes an allocation from the Getting Building Fund from the Government, through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).

Elyse Cadden, The Box Venue Manager of FarGo Village said they wanted five different operators to be located within Factory.

“We have had a couple of residencies from street food companies which have proved hugely popular and we believe this kind of independent street food venue is missing within Coventry’s dining sector,” she said.

“We also have some fantastic foodie businesses at FarGo Village already including Leave it to Esmie, Dirty Kitch, BIB Noodle, Twisted Barrel, Gourmet Food Kitchen and Choc n Roll. The addition of this outdoor dining space will allow these existing businesses to maximise their trading opportunities after an incredibly difficult year.

“We now want to attract additional new quality, experienced street food vendors who plan to make FarGo Village a core of their activities. However, we also have the flexibility to regularly change some of the operators to ensure there is always something new on offer. This will help cement FarGo Village as the place for independent dining in Coventry.

“There will also be the theatre of being able to watch your food being cooked whether it is a burger being flamed or a pizza base being hand pulled and cooked in a wood-fired oven.

“The plan is to open just after the launch of UK City of Culture once Government restrictions allow for indoor and outdoor dining – we just need the sun to shine!”

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration at Coventry City Council and CWLEP board director, said: “The idea of a street food area at FarGo with new outdoor space is a great idea – not only will it offer opportunities for existing traders it will also attract new ones.

“I think after a year of lockdowns there will be a real appetite for this kind of offer and with a wide range of tastes from local specialities to food from across the globe, I think it’s sure to be a real hit.

“Like Far Gosford Street, FarGo has very quickly established a name for itself in the city and it has a growing number of loyal fans as well as continuing to attract visitors from outside the city. The idea of a food factory can only boost FarGo’s popularity further.”

Any street food operators interested in becoming part of Factory, should email

FarGo is keen to speak to people who may have worked at the Coventry Motor Fittings factory that was previously based there, and are particularly interested in finding old photographs of the factory, ideally with negatives, that could be incorporated into the branding and interior design of the space.

If you have any old images or footage of Coventry Motor Fittings, please contact


Getting Building Fund

On 4 August 2020, the government confirmed the list of over 300 successful projects which will receive a share of £900 million from the Getting Building Fund.

The full list of projects is available on GOV.UK.

The Getting Building Fund is investing in shovel-ready infrastructure projects to create jobs and support economic recovery across the country.  Projects funded include:

  • regeneration of town and city centres
  • green infrastructure and clean energy
  • transport and digital connectivity improvements
  • unlocking of housing and business sites
  • support for SMEs and learners

The successful projects (over 300) are expected to deliver up to 85,000 jobs, over 1,500,000 sqm of commercial floor space, unlocking 45,000 homes, almost 1,000,000 sqm of the public realm or green space improved or created, over 50,000 new learners assisted, and 65 million kgs of CO2 emissions saved.

All projects have been selected by Local Enterprise Partnerships and Mayoral Combined Authorities in each area and endorsed by the Housing Secretary.

Midlands Engine

Some Midlands Engine key facts:

  • The Midlands Engine is home to over 10.3m people and has a £238bn economy, generating over 12% of the UK’s Gross Value Added.[1] The Midland Engine Partnership aims to close the productivity gap to match or exceed the national average by 2030.
  • The Midlands is home to 835,000 businesses, and in 2019, the Midlands accounted for a 22% share of all of England’s goods exports.


CDP attending Creative Spark 2021

CDP attending Creative Spark 2021

CDP will once again be attending Creative Spark with Warwick District Council 22-26 February 2021, this year as a virtual event.  Our Director Ian Harrabin MBE and Senior Development Executive Katie Burn will be speaking on Tuesday 23rd  Feb at 3 pm to discuss Building a Creative Future for the area. Find out more about our Creative Quarter projects and how they will support the local creative economy.
Spark 2021 will turn creative talk into creative action, and galvanise our creative business community around a common purpose; recovery, promotion, and growth of the sector.  This event will take place online. For more details and to register, visit

FarGo Village print business expands!

FarGo Village print business expands!

A screen-printing studio will be blending more than inks when it opens with a new name following its move to a much larger unit at FarGo Village.

Print Manufactory – which is currently closed in line with the Government’s Covid regulations – will be re-named Commonground when it is allowed to re-open at the City’s Creative Quarter.

Business partners Kate Rossin and Jon Randle are moving the highly successful business from unit ten to much larger premises at unit five, formerly the home of Twisted Barrel Ale Brewery & Tap House.

This has been made possible through the Cultural Capital Investment Fund which includes an allocation from the Getting Building Fund from the Government through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).

The expansion means the business can provide a more varied offer with an exhibition space for aspiring artists and a café which will be run by Paul Stronach, who is behind the successful Table and Wine pop-up eateries. The new operation will be open seven days a week.

Kate said there would now be three different strands to Commonground.

She said: “We’re currently a printing studio and a design store for customers to buy prints
and independently made items. We have also incorporated a large dark room into this space.

“When we can re-open, we’re going to have a café where we have sourced the right kind of suppliers including award-winning Origin coffee and exhibition space with one of the walls through the entire unit being for curated projects as well as individual artists which are particularly important during Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture and the work that is going on throughout the area.

“We will also be carrying on with the workshops to teach people how to use cameras, take better photographs and learn screen printing.

“One of the aspects we have been proud of since we started Print Manufactory is that it is a great place to hang out and stay for a chat and we feel this is a natural progression from our old building to the new place.

“Unfortunately, the darkroom isn’t coming with us because it is hard to build another bespoke space but we have kept the equipment so we may be able to find an alternative home for it at some point.

“We’re really happy that we have been able to expand at FarGo Village which is where we launched the business in 2018.”

Kate said she and Jon felt privileged to be able to grow at a time when many businesses are struggling to survive due to the pandemic.

She added: “That is partly due to the support we have received from the FarGo team.

“They are helping us with the refurbishment and alterations work in the new unit to make it as easy as possible to complete the move.

“We’re hoping the building work will be completed by the end of February but when we open is dependent on Government advice.”

Adam Gudgeon, of FarGo Village, said it was great to have been able to facilitate the move of Print Manufactory.

“Kate and Jon have built a really successful business with a loyal customer base and their new unit will allow them to showcase work from local artists as well as open a coffee shop which will enhance the visitor experience,” he said.

“In these difficult times, it is fantastic we have been able to offer them the opportunity to move into larger premises at FarGo to expand their operations and they have a really exciting future.

“They, like others before, have expanded their business on-site and the unique grow on space at the village enables a progression for start-ups to expand their business whilst remaining part of the FarGo community.

“We are looking forward to being the other side of lockdown, and welcoming the public back when it is safe to do so.

“All the independent business at FarGo Village are so reliant on the support of customers and many of them have been working on establishing and improving their online platforms. However, we are so much more than that, and we long for the day we can meet in person, interact face-to-face and share a coffee perhaps over some common ground!”.

Nick Abell, the chair of the CWLEP, added: “The Getting Building Fund was established to support projects which would help the economic recovery due to Covid-19 as well as creating and safeguarding jobs.

“FarGo Village has a key part to play in helping the independent creative sector in Coventry when shops are allowed to open again and we wish Kate and Jon every success in their new premises.”

Planning Approval granted for new urban park

Planning Approval granted for new urban park

An innovative proposal to create a new urban park in Coventry city centre has been given planning approval.

The park is part of wider proposals by regeneration experts Complex Development Projects (CDP) to create a new community of over 700 homes on 6.5 acres of derelict land in Abbotts Lane.

The funding for the park is dependent on the approval of the housing scheme, which is expected to go to the committee within the next month and a green light would allow the park to be delivered in time for Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture, which begins in May.

The new linear park will provide a continuous 1km long green link from Belgrade Square in the city centre under the ring road connecting to communities in the north of the city.

The proposals recreate the culverted Radford Brook as the central landscape feature running through the development with natural landscaping and the planting of 210 trees and 1,900 saplings.

There will be new pedestrian and cycle routes under a raised section of the ring road, which will be brought to life as a new urban space with a climbing wall, performance amphitheatre, feature lighting and landscaping.

Improvements to the Edwardian Naul’s Mill Park, which opened in 1908, have been worked up in partnership with the active local friend’s group and include naturalising the large pond as a wildlife haven.

Construction works are ready to start in August but cannot proceed yet as the agreed funding for the project is dependent on the go-ahead for the wider scheme, which has been delayed by Covid.

Katie Burn, of CDP, said: “This scheme will reconnect communities in this part of Coventry in an environmentally-friendly manner by breaching the barrier of the ring road.

“It will link the old and the new, recreating the brook and regenerating the lovely Edwardian park transforming the area into something that Coventry residents can enjoy and take pride in.

“At a time when people have been going on walks in their local areas and cycling more, the new link will create a safe and attractive environment for people of all ages.

“This urban park will really showcase Coventry’s green credentials during its year as UK City of Culture and will be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Support for FarGo Village from Arts Council England

Support for FarGo Village from Arts Council England

Coventry’s Creative Quarter is set to continue its much-needed work to support independent businesses following a boost from the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund.

FarGo Village has been awarded £150,000 from Arts Council England and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport.

The decision means the venue is able to help the myriad of independent creative businesses whose home is FarGo Village, as well as invest in its outdoor space by increasing its canopy areas and buying outdoor tables, seats and heaters to attract visitors in a Covid secure way in the winter months.

Emma Harrabin, Manager at FarGo Village which was voted Small Visitor Attraction of the Year in the West Midlands Tourism Awards 2020, said this was an extremely tough time for local businesses.

“We’re incredibly excited to have received this funding which will allow us to continue our support for independent creative businesses and practitioners at such a difficult time,” she said.

“We will be using it to support our permanent businesses, particularly through allowing them to create and strengthen their digital infrastructure and ability to function online.

“The funding will also enable us to deliver a number of socially distanced events, including our Christmas Makers Markets this December which will support over 80 independent artists, designers and local community enterpreises across two weekend events. These events will also be available to access online thanks to an enhanced web platform we are developing.

“We will also now be able to undertake some infrastructural work within FarGo Village, allowing us to improve the offering, and prepare for 2021.

“That will involve making full use of our outdoor space to make it more customer friendly, allowing us to use the area in a Covid secure way by adding outdoor tables, chairs and heaters and increasing our canopy areas to protect visitors from the elements. We will be bringing our indoor facilities outdoors as much as possible!

“It promises to be 12 months to remember from May 2021 when Coventry starts its year as UK City of Culture and this money from the Arts Council and DCMS will mean we are in the best place possible to play our part in showcasing all that is great about the area’s creative sector.”

CDP join the Midlands MIPIM Delegation

CDP join the Midlands MIPIM Delegation

CDP is joining the Midlands UK delegation at MIPIM 2020.  We will be showcasing our various regeneration projects including the Telegraph Hotel which will be Coventry’s first four-star offering. The hotel will feature 88 boutique bedrooms – the majority of which are considerably larger than average – and will be a stylish addition to Coventry and the region.
It will boast a 160-seat conference facility, an 80-cover restaurant and a main bar and rooftop bar, all of which evoke the style and former use of the building as the former newspaper office and print works. It will be open to guests in early Autumn 2020 and booking enquiries are currently being taken.

As part of the wider regeneration of the area, CDP has submitted planning applications for two key corner sites that have remained in temporary use – since WW2.
The Well Street proposals face onto The Burges Conservation Area which is being restored by Historic Coventry Trust as the national demonstrator project for the Government’s Historic High Streets Programme. The development will provide 40 high-quality flats for city-centre living, and 4,500 sq ft of retail and office space.
The other project, ‘Mid-Century Apartments’, will be designed in 1950’s style to complete the terrace of buildings that include the Belgrade Theatre and will provide 16 apartments and new gardens to greatly improve the setting of the Grade I Listed St John’s Church apartments.
The project will transform the current underpass area into a vibrant and attractive space, including an amphitheatre and a bouldering wall. The Radford Brook will then be re-created through the former Gas Works site, forming a natural water feature and parkland through a previously contaminated site. The park is due to be completed in time for when Coventry is UK City of Culture in 2021.

Meet our Director, Ian Harrabin at the event 10 -13 March, Midlands Pavillion, Stand C16.D Cannes, France.

To find out more about Midlands MIPIM, please visit the website

CDP attend Leamington SPARK conference

CDP attend Leamington SPARK conference

We were delighted to attend the one-day symposium on Friday 14th February to talk about all things creative in Warwick district.

There are so many exciting projects and initiatives in the area – and we shared the developing plans for the Creative Quarter.  Working alongside Warwick District Council we presented an overview of the plans for Spencer Yard and the United Reformed Church.  WDC presented an update on the Future High Streets Development Fund, a project that will rejuvenate the streets of the old town and support the creative quarter.

Around 200 delegates from all areas of the creative industries attended, many discussions, lots of networking and a fine lunch from Mookies Street Food!


New linear park planned for Coventry

New linear park planned for Coventry

A planning application has been submitted for the development of 40 apartments and 4,500 sq ft of ground-floor retail and office space, on the corner of Well Street and Bishop Street in Coventry. The site is in the heart of the city centre and is one of the few remaining sites that has remained in temporary use since Word War II.

The site faces onto The Burges Conservation Area which is being restored by Historic Coventry Trust as part of the Government’s Historic High Streets Programme. With this, in mind the scheme has been designed to provide a transition from the historic Burges area, including the Grade I Listed Old Grammar School, to the new high-rise student schemes to the north.

Subject to planning, it is hoped that work will start on-site in Spring 2020, with completion at the end of 2021.

Planning submitted for Well St, Coventry

Planning submitted for Well St, Coventry

A planning application has been submitted for the development of 40 apartments and 4,500 sq ft of ground-floor retail and office space, on the corner of Well Street and Bishop Street in Coventry. The site is in the heart of the city centre and is one of the few remaining sites that has remained in temporary use since Word War II.

The site faces onto The Burges Conservation Area which is being restored by Historic Coventry Trust as part of the Government’s Historic High Streets Programme. With this, in mind the scheme has been designed to provide a transition from the historic Burges area, including the Grade I Listed Old Grammar School, to the new high-rise student schemes to the north.

Subject to planning, it is hoped that work will start on-site in Spring 2020, with completion at the end of 2021.

Leamington Creative Quarter gets the green light for development

Leamington Creative Quarter gets the green light for development

A home for creative businesses and pop-up and community events in Spencer Yard will be one of the first redevelopment sites going ahead as part of a phased delivery of Leamington’s Creative Quarter.

Warwick District Council (WDC) has given the go-ahead for regeneration experts Complex Development Projects (CDP) to start the work ahead of the town hosting the lawn bowls and Para bowls during the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

This follows two years of extensive discussions with WDC and public consultations with 400 individuals, stakeholders and businesses to agree ‘The Big Picture’ for the Creative Quarter.

Spencer Yard, already home to some of Leamington’s most highly-regarded creative businesses, will provide a range of spaces to cater for a variety of operators.

The existing buildings, including the Grade II Listed United Reform Church that is in disrepair following years of being empty, will be revamped to provide flexible workspace for creative industries as well as to facilitate and encourage the industry’s engagement with the local community.

Katie Harrabin, Senior Development Executive at CDP, said: “Since we signed the Collaboration Agreement in November 2017, the area of, and buildings identified within the Creative Quarter, have been changed to reflect the feedback we have received at numerous consultation events.

We have recommended that landmark heritage buildings such as the Royal Pump Rooms and the Town Hall stay in the ownership of WDC or are transferred into a charitable trust to ensure that community access is maintained. WDC will be carrying out further consultation and working with the existing occupiers to progress plans for these buildings.

We will also work with WDC to determine potential developments for Court Street car park and look forward to continuing to partner with WDC on these sites in the future.

Meanwhile, there is a strong desire from the council and stakeholders to deliver improvements in the Creative Quarter ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and Spencer Yard is an exciting opportunity to showcase the beginnings of what the Creative Quarter has to offer by mid-2021.”