Demolition work of a former Italian restaurant in Coventry city centre is now in progress.
Only the outer facade of Ristorante Etna now remains after demolition work began on the project, which will see it converted to apartments and a shop.
The Hertford Street restaurant fed generations of Coventry families over 35 years, and was a popular spot in the city.
They were known for serving their pizza and pasta classics as well as homemade ice cream.
CoventryLive reported last year that the planning application for the former restaurant site had been approved, and that the building was marked for demolition.
Now, scaffolding has appeared on the restaurant’s exterior, and rubble can be seen through the windows as the whole of the inside has been pulled down.
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What do the plans include?
Coventry City Council’s planning portal shows that planning permission for the demolition and creation of the 18 new homes was granted in November 2019.
The original plans that were submitted asked for permission for 23 serviced apartments.
The updated planning statement from planning agent Sykes Planning also states that apartments would have a self-contained bedroom, shower/WC and living space with flexible short-term lengths of letting for public and professional people.
It would be managed off-site with all check-in and check-out, servicing of rooms, laundry, cleaning of rooms and communal areas.
The document adds: “The proposed building is a modern building which has been designed to reflect and help lift the character of the immediate shopping precinct, setting the standard for new development that is helping shape Coventry City Centre.”
Part of city’s ‘collective history’
The planning application had attracted concern from members of the Coventry Society, which aims to promote the environmental, social, economic and cultural improvement of Coventry for the benefit of its residents.
At the time the original planning application was submitted, the society asked if Ristorante Etna should be saved as it was was part of Coventry’s “collective history”.
Their newsletter at the time said: “A plan to demolish and replace a modest Victorian building with a modern block of little or no architectural value is clearly a controversial one.
“The conundrum arises with a recent planning application to demolish the Ristorante Etna in Hertford Street.”
They added: “However the developers know that this is a shopping street and to ensure that they get planning permission they have included a small shop unit downstairs facing Hertford Street. However the shop unit is tiny and is unlikely to attract a retailer, particularly as it can’t be served from the rear because of the flats.
“Etna restaurant will be very familiar to many Coventry people and will hold a small, warm place in their hearts.
“It’s part of Coventry’s collective history. Is this important enough to argue for its retention?”
Developers have planning permission until October 31, 2022.