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Diners soon to be spoiled for choice; RESTAURANT REVOLUTION IN CITY CENTRE TO BRING US 20 NEW EATERIES.

Byline: BARBARA GOULDEN

TWENTY new restaurants could be operating or on the way in Coventry city centre by the end of the year, according to city council planners.

Half a dozen of them are likely to be in the proposed Priory Place development.

London-based Complex Development Projects - run by Coventry developer Ian Harrabin - has just renewed alcohol licences on seven units on the site.

Priory Place, which is part of the pounds 40million Phoenix Initiative, will be officially handed over in May Balfour Beaty is due to start serious construction work by July.

Company director John Moss said: "Negotiations with a national bar and restaurant operator for almost one-third of the available space are already well advanced, although we cannot give precise details yet.

"Other discussions are ongoing with both mainstream and independent operators for the remainder of the space."

Mr Moss accepts that it will probably be next year before the new restaurants open. But others are already thriving - the Litten Tree and Inspire, on the edge of New Union Street, are already up and running.

The old County Court refurbishment in Cuckoo Lane is still on line to be converted into a Piano and Pitcher bar by the end of the year although designers will need to overcome listed building limitations affecting both the interior and exterior of the historic courthouse.

At New Buildings, brewers Whitbread have already agreed to turn the former ribbon factory and ragged school into a Hogshead pub restaurant.

And The Cosy Cottage - formerly Cottage in the Town - in Hill Street received its drinks licence in February and will open shortly.

Next Monday, licensing justices will consider two of the latest applications - the first from Pam Edgson, who runs the Bus Stop cafe in City Arcade.

Mrs Edgson wants to open an Art Deco-style cafe in the former Jones' shoe shop in Bull Yard by mid-May.

The second application is to renew a drinks licence for a restaurant to replace Bunty's, in Hay Lane.

CAPTION(S):

TAKE YOUR PICK: A computer-generated picture of how Priory Place might look by this time next year, to whet your appetite . . .
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 13, 2001
Words:353
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