This is the news we've all been waiting for…. There will be more details around implementation and the timetable at the meeting in Lightwoods Park at 4pm this afternoon!
Sandwell Council’s Parks and Countryside Services has received a grant of £3.6 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) for the Lightwoods Park and House Restoration project, it was announced today. The aim of this project is to restore the historical elements of Lightwoods Park and refurbish the Grade II Lightwoods House so more people can enjoy, learn about and become involved in the park and house. It is proposed that the physical works will commence on site in October 2014 (following a final design and tendering process) and be completed for March 2016, with Lightwoods House opening in the summer of 2016.
The project will include the restoration of the drinking fountains, the 19th Century Bandstand, Shakespeare Garden, walls and railings and a pond. The project will also incorporate access improvements and a new play area. The project aims to bring the Grade II listed house, which was built in 1791, back into public use for community meetings, training and functions, a Children’s Centre and on site offices for the park/house management and police. The ground floor will provide public toilets, a tea room and exhibition space. The upper floors of the House will provide rooms for the community, conferencing, weddings and commercial activities. The plant nursery will become a horticultural training centre. Educational and events programmes are also planned for the park and house, with volunteers given training so they can help care for the park and house.
Lightwoods Park and House are at the heart of the local community and have great historical importance. Cherie O’Sullivan, Lightwoods Park Project Officer, said: “This is fantastic news for everyone. Lightwoods Park is becoming increasingly popular and I am so pleased we can now look to putting the restoration plans into action. A big thank you goes out to the Friends Group and the local community who have worked closely with Sandwell Council and have been involved and supported the project since the transfer of the park from Birmingham City Council to Sandwell Council in November 2010”.
Deputy Leader of Sandwell Council, Councillor Steve Eling, said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund have given us this £3.6 million grant. The total bid value is £5.2 million as £1.6 million is also being funded by Sandwell Council. Lightwoods Park and House not only reflect our local heritage but are valuable community resources. Sandwell Council, the Friends of the Park and House, and the local community are 100% committed to turning Lightwoods Park into something special again. It is great to know that we have now been awarded a successful grant to restore both the park and house to their former glory”.
Carole Souter, Chief Executive of HLF, said on behalf of HLF and the Big Lottery Fund: “We’re delighted to be able to provide this much needed support for Lightwoods Park when it could not be more needed. Many public parks are really suffering in the current economic climate so this is particularly good news for the area. Parks are important to all of us and add so much to our quality of life. Lightwoods Park will help to bring the local community together and now, we can help to secure its future.”