Plans for new student block metres from historic Coventry street

Plans[1] have been put forward for a new student block metres away from one of Coventry's most historic streets. The purpose-built accommodation, 24 metres high at its tallest point under current designs, would replace an interiors showroom on the cul-de-sac Watch Close.

Its location is a one-minute walk from the city's iconic Spon Street[2], known for its listed medieval timber houses and Coventry's oldest surviving pub[3]. The street, a magnet for tourists, makes up most of the Spon Street conservation area created in the late 1960s after the road was split in half[4] by the city's new ring-road.

The 68-bed student block would also be within this conservation area, on the south-west boundary. But designers of the accommodation claim it would improve its immediate surroundings, while they say new students would boost the area's economy.

The buildings the new scheme could replace were put up relatively recently and are "not of the same style, standard, and quality" as those on Spon Street, according to a design and access statement submitted with the plans. Graffiti is also a current problem for the site, the plans say. And while the buildings do screen the area from the ring-road and mask its noise, so will the replacement student block, those behind the scheme say.

The new accommodation is claimed to be "sympathetically designed" with traditional materials and is set out in tiers going from eight down to four storeys, its backers claim. The scheme would also create jobs during construction and help reduce demand for privately rented student accommodation, freeing up homes for families, the plans say.

Other stated benefits include "supporting economic recovery by providing a welcome socio-economic boost for the area, with the introduction of 68 new student residents." But the site does have some constraints, according to the statement. It is in a cul-de-sac, meaning all vehicles going in and out would have to leave the same way.

Neighbouring buildings restrict window and access points so there would be fewer opportunities for light to come into the building at its lower levels, the scheme adds. A heritage statement with the plans says the current building has little merit and the block would make a positive contribution.

The building will go on Watch Close, a cul-de-sac off Spon Street The building will go on Watch Close, a cul-de-sac off Spon Street

This statement, produced by a conservation architect, concludes: "The existing single storey structure is of no architectural or historical merit, and its replacement with a new high quality building will improve this small hidden section of the Spon Street Conservation Area, hopefully acting as a catalyst for further redevelopment."

Floor layouts for the block show it would have a range of studios and flats, plus two roof terraces. It comes a decade after a five-storey building with 15 apartments was given planning permission to go up on the site.

But delays to a 1.5 metre sewer led to the scheme not going ahead. The new plan is still being considered by Coventry City Council[6] officers and members of the public can comment on the council's planning portal.


  1. ^ (
  2. ^ (
  3. ^ (
  4. ^ (
  5. ^ (
  6. ^ (