We are pleased that Cllr Jim O’Boyle has finally decided to rethink his fantasy Friargate project but it should not have taken this long.
There have been numerous warnings about what the council is doing in Coventry but the damage has already been done.
This is because the council has systematically driven commercial offices out of the city centre in favour of student accommodation.
This has also affected city centre retail because shops rely on footfall from office workers who have more disposable income than students.
The council often blames online shopping for the decline in city centre retail which is nonsense because people are still shopping at retail parks.
Successful city centres also have three times more office space than retail which clearly shows Coventry has got the balance wrong.
In addition, business parks are now going out of fashion due to their isolation and changing business models post-pandemic.
This means businesses are looking to downsize and relocate to smaller premises in central locations closer to retail and leisure facilities.
The traditional city centre model is not failing but Cllr O’Boyle has thrown it in the bin because he thinks he can force demand by building large office blocks next to the rail station.
However, Centre for Cities group has warned against this type of development and recommended swapping shops for small amounts of flexible office space.
Unfortunately, there are not many shops left in the city centre so the council should swap plans for new housing for more office space instead.
This is essential to rebalancing the local economy and making the city centre more successful and diverse.