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£31m funding awarded to Coventry as it prepares to be UK City of Culture

Words: Lydia Till

West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has given the go-ahead for funding as Coventry gets ready for its role as the United Kingdom’s City of Culture in 2021.

The cash will be used to enhance the centre ahead of the arrival of millions of visitors who are expected to view the city – and for the Commonwealth Games in 2022, which is being hosted by Birmingham.

Over the past eight years, more than £150 million has been spent on the city’s public spaces and infrastructure. The funding is expected to build on improvements made by the city council, with the goal of changing the public perception of Coventry.

The £31.6 million awarded will go towards the Coventry City Centre First – City of Culture Project, which involves improvements to:

  • The urban environment and public realm areas, including enhanced lighting and safety;
  • The city’s road and cycle lanes, including improved coach parking and upgrades around Pool Meadow bus station;
  • The city’s signage and wayfinding infrastructure, including travel planning solutions for visitors; and
  • Refresh public spaces and public art.

George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council and WMCA board member, said: “We are set for a wonderful year as City of Culture but we have also committed to ensuring we provide a lasting legacy for local people. The money will help us to fulfil our commitment. We will use it to transform areas of the city centre including Upper Precinct, Market Way and Smithford Way as well as the area outside The Wave where we will take the best of the old and combine it with the best of the new.”

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, who also chairs the WMCA, said: “The UK City of Culture offers a unique and golden opportunity for Coventry to showcase itself to the world. Coupled with the Commonwealth Games, where thousands of visitors will stay in and visit the city, it really is absolutely vital that we make not only a wonderful first impression but create a lasting legacy for those living in Coventry.”

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