Charterhouse Building Coventry News
TWO Coventry councillors have pledged their support to a campaign to save one of the city’s most historic buildings from being sold.
Coun Jim O’Boyle and Coun Dave Nellist have joined the fight to return Charterhouse to the people of Coventry, after it was revealed last week that owners City College plan to sell it off.
The pair have spoken out after local business leaders and historians called for the London Road building to be restored into a museum and park – providing full public access for the first time in its history.
A Trust has been set up to save the Charterhouse building, a Grade I listed building originally part of the Carthusian Priory of St Anne, founded in 1381.
Coun Nellist, of St Michael’s ward, said: “The Charterhouse buildings and surrounding land were given back to the people of Coventry 70 years ago, in the will of Colonel Wyley, as a museum and public park.
“They were then transferred to Tile Hill College just over 20 years ago when, under the last Conservative government, further education colleges became separate businesses.
“If the City College now no longer wants the building, it should revert back to public ownership – not be sold on the open market for a profit.
“It was originally given to the people of Coventry, and it should be returned to them."
“I met with senior college management last year to discuss community involvement in the running of the building and, with the Charterhouse Residents’ Association, arranged a special meeting to discuss the college’s proposals.
“But this ‘For Sale’ notice has come out of the blue, with no consultation with local people whatsoever. It’s outrageous. I have written to the college asking them to withdraw the property.
“If they do not, I will be meeting with residents over the next few days to rally opposition to this sale, and for a solution that keeps this historic building for the people of our city.”
Coun O’Boyle, of St Michael’s ward, is also calling for the building to be retained for the use of the public and has asked the city council for its help in doing so.
He added: “There are covenants on the building which mean it can only be used for education or museum use. I would hope that as it was once in public hands the building can be returned to a public body once again.
“I have also spoken with the principle of City College who has assured me that the college are not doing this to make a ‘fast buck’ but want to be socially responsible and are determined to make sure that the new owner has the best interests of the building and the best interests of the people of Coventry at their heart.”
Coventry Telegraph - 20 Sept 2011
Trust set up to battle Coventry's Charterhouse sale
A NEW Trust has been set up to fight plans to sell Coventry’s historic Charterhouse building.
Business leaders have joined forces with The Charterhouse Community, Coventry Society and Historic Buildings experts to save the city’s “hidden gem” from being sold.
Instead the Trust wants to restore the building and grounds and transform it into a public museum and park, providing full public access for the first time in its history.
As revealed in yesterday’s Telegraph, Charterhouse - which is currently owned by the City College - has been put on the market.
But local leaders are calling for the college to abandon its plans to sell and allow the building on London Road to be restored for visitors.
Ian Harrabin, chairman of the Coventry Charterhouse Preservation Trust, said: “The building was given to The People of Coventry by Colonel Wyley in his will in 1940 for use as a museum and park.
“Yet through a legal loophole, the college took ownership of the main buildings from the council and are now committed to selling this to get the best price.
“This means that it is in great danger of being lost to the public. We have worked hard to build wide support for the creation of a public museum which will add greatly to the city’s tourist offer. This is a fantastic building, dating back to 1381, and it should be open to the public.
“The city has a hidden gem, next to the city centre, that can increase tourism and help the local economy.
"The first grant, from design body CABE, has already been secured and we have in principle support from major national funders, but can’t progress further unless the college will commit to a transfer.”
A meeting of the college governors is due to take place tonight, but Mr Harrabin claims attempts by the Trust to meet with the college and resolve the issue have had “little success’.
He added: “We hope that the governors will reconsider and do what is not just in the college’s financial interests but what is in Coventry’s best interests.”
Business leaders have offered support to the campaign, claiming Charterhouse could benefit businesses as well as the city.
Trustee Alan Durham, of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are very keen to see Charterhouse being used for the purposes envisaged in the bequest.
"It has the potential to be a fantastic addition to the range of quality venues for corporate events in the city and we hope to be able to bring this hidden gem to the attention of key local businesses.”
A spokesman from City College said: “As a public institution, the college is obliged to follow proper procedure in the disposal of its assets in order to show transparency and to secure best value for money for the taxpayer.
“In judging this best value for the taxpayer, we must have regard to the historical nature of the building and its cultural value to the people of Coventry. In other words, we are not obliged to sell to the highest bidder.
“The City Council have decided not to take up their pre-emption right to acquire the Charterhouse.
"So, we will dispose of the Charterhouse responsibly having significant regard to the appropriateness of any purchaser and their proposed usage of it as we did with the facade and theatre at the Butts.”
Coventry Telegraph - 16 Sept 2011