Holy smoke... Cov ring road was heaven sent! THE RED THE RED Behind Behind headlines headlines the the STEVE STEVE with with BUTTON BUTTON CHILTON CHILTON //Heard a whisper? Email firstname.lastname@example.org / For more, visit www.coventrytelegraph.net/redbutto //Heard a whisper? Email email@example.com / For more, visit www.coventrytelegraph.net/redbutto.
THOUSANDS of bewildered motorists have felt like shouting Hallelujah! after surviving a spin round Coventry's ring road.
But they wouldn't have known just how apt that was until now. For the carriageway that puts the fear of God into hesitant drivers was built on land partly-owned by the Pope.
In a timely revelation with the Pontiff this week announcing his retirement, Red Button can now recognise his office's contribution to the city.
On the heels of previous stories about the Vatican's property interests, it has come to light that land for the Ringway St Patrick's stretch and adjoining roads was bought from the Catholic Church in Rome.
The Vatican, using money first donated by fascist dictator Mussolini as a political sweetener, owned a swathe of Coventry through its investment arm British Grolux Ltd, and continues to hold some freeholds through successor British Grolux Investments.
The major slice of the holdings were originally part of the historic Cheylesmore Estate, from Parkside through to the edge of the city centre, a vital stretch for building the Ring Road and the Inner Ring Road.
Mick Sanders, who worked as a surveyor for the city council for 39 years, recalls that many compulsory purchases were made from British Grolux.
"They were always mysterious and some connection with Luxembourg was mooted.
"There were possibly as many as 20 separate purchases including land for the cutting of Greyfriars Road and the various stages of the Inner Ring Road. The purchase (by the council) of the Cheylesmore Manor in November 1965 included several other properties in old Chey-lesmore and these would have been bought for the cutting of New Union Street." He added there were further parcels of land owned by the company in Gosford street and Lower Ford Street also sold to the city council.
Properties still owned by the Vatican include the Hornchurch industrial estate in Cheylesmore and buildings in Queen Victoria Road.
Now that Pope Benedict XVI is to hang up his mitre, is it time for the council to consider renaming a stretch of the ring road Pontiff Drive or Vatican Way? After our failed attempt to get him to visit the city in 2010 - he snubbed us for Brum - perhaps we could invite his successor to christen it with an opening lap in the Popemobile.
PONTIFF DRIVE? Perhaps a successor to Pope Benedict XVI could christen the St Patrick's section of Coventry ring road...
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|Publication:||Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)|
|Date:||Feb 15, 2013|
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