A £3.8million scheme to restore one of the city’s most historic areas and open up the River Sherbourne is set to move a step closer, says the council.

The Burges, a street with listed buildings and medieval architecture, will be transformed in the same style as Far Gosford Street. Coventry City Council hopes the improvements will attract tourists, shoppers and new businesses to the declining shopping street.

Plans would also expose the long neglected River Sherbourne – which will become part of a riverside square. The area is seen as an ideal choice for restoration by the council as it is one of the city centre’s last surviving pre-war streets.

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, said: “The Far Gosford Street area has been totally transformed and this scheme would help us bring the area around the Burges back into life in the same way.

“It is a very historic part of the city centre and grant funding would allow us to make it a thriving part of city life once more. This scheme will give residents and tourists something extra and a little bit different – not only protecting our wonderful heritage, but investing in something for the future.”

An application for Stage Two funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund would give the council £1.8million to complete the renovations. If approved, works could begin later this year to be ready in time for City of Culture 2021. The council says the rest would be completed with £225,000 from Historic England with the deficit made up by the council and private investments.

Three years ago, the council approved an extension to the Lady Herbert’s Garden Conservation Area that gave protection to properties in an area of the Burges, Hales Street and Palmer Lane. After expanding the conservation area, the council completed the first stage of the application carrying out a £200,000 project from February 2016 to June last year to develop the scheme. Councillors will discuss the application at a cabinet meeting on June 12.

Ian Harrabin, chairman of Historic Coventry Trust, said: “The biggest impact will be to the rear in Palmer Lane, where the River Sherbourne will be opened up by the council as the centrepiece of a riverside square with cafés and restaurants. The restoration of this historic part of the city and the opening up of the river have been community aims for many years. We plan to get off to a flying start and have most of the work completed in time for the tourist spotlight in 2021.”

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