In the old Coventry before the war, Starley Road was a very good address to have. The solidly built, late Victorian houses were respectable family homes commanding high prices because of their size and proximity to the City Centre.
We all know of the devastation wreaked on the City Centre during the war, but Starley Road survived intact and when the smoke settled, it looked like the street would continue for evermore in the style to which it was accustomed.
It was not to be. German bombs were one thing, but the City planners would be another, and as the new City Centre of car parks and shopping precincts spread outwards, their gaze settled on Starley Road. Nobody is saying it happened on purpose of course, but in the 50’s and 60’s, the condition of Starley Road deteriorated with very little being done to remedy the situation. By the mid 70’s the street had been allowed to run down to a disastrous state with nearly all the properties boarded up, or in a very serious state of disrepair. In 1977 a decision was finally taken by the Council to demolish the street.
The Council however, had not foreseen the determination of half a dozen or so families who still remained in the street, and intended to remain there, to make sure Starley Road as a whole survived. Together with sympathetic people in the Council and local community workers they decided to fight back. Details and press cuttings of the campaign are kept in the Co-operative office and make interesting reading.
It was decided that the best way to keep the families in the street and to renovate the empty houses, was to form a Housing Co-operative. This offered them a means of getting government loans to repair and/or convert the houses into flats to be then rented out to people in housing need. The rest, as they say, is history. The campaign was successfully fought and won and resulted in the Starley Housing Co-operative we know now.