Work is due to start at the end of January on the £5.2 million restoration of Lightwoods Park and House.

Sandwell Council’s Cabinet has approved the letting of the contract for the value of £3.979 million to the specialist conservation and restoration company, Fairhurst Ward Abbots.

Council deputy leader Councillor Steve Eling said: “The aim 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”.

“This is the culmination of a major piece of work to restore the park and house to their former glory that has been worked up since Sandwell Council took over the park in November 2010”.

“Local residents and members of the Friends of Lightwoods Park and House have been involved in working out the priorities for what will be included in the restoration and the future uses for the house. I can’t wait for the work to be finished.”

Project officer Cherie O’Sullivan said: “Everyone is anxious to see the work get under way as soon as possible, and we appreciate people keep hearing us talk about it. We expect to be on target for the grand opening in August 2016.”

Councillor Richard Marshall, chair of the Friends of Lightwoods Park and House, said: “After years of talking about this project, to actually be within touching distance of it starting is almost unbelievable. It will have a huge effect on the community and the local area as it will re-energise this part of Smethwick and will bring life back into an icon”

The project includes bringing the Grade II listed Lightwoods house, which dates from 1791, back into public use for community meetings, training, 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 will have rooms for the community, conferencing, weddings and commercial office space.

The project also includes restoration of the park which was officially opened as a public park in 1903, elements include:

  • Restoring the drinking fountains, 19th century bandstand, Shakespeare Garden, walls and railings and a pond;
  • Improving access and a new play area;
  • Turning the plant nursery into a horticultural training centre; and
  • Holding educational and events programmes at the park and house.

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund (BIG) are funding £3.6 million towards the project under the Parks for People Programme, with Sandwell Council funding £1.6 million.

Photos courtesy of Ken Harrison http://www.kenharrisonphotography.com/



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5 Responses to Yippeeee!

  1. keithbracey says:

    Brilliant news for Bearwood!

  2. smith says:

    great news for bearwood carn’t wait to see what my new smethwick councillor will do in the wider area of smethwick not just on his own patch.

    • Bob says:

      If you mean Richard Marshall by ‘new Smethwick councillor’ then I don’t know where you have been. Richard was the driving force behind the expanded Smethwick bonfire night, he was one of the founders of Smethwick in a Stew providing thousands of warm meals for needy Smethwick folk, he was one of the first snow champions, encouraging local Smethwick people to join in clearing away snow for elderly or informed neighbours. Richard led the protest to try to prevent developers from building on the wild land near the Smethwick Recreation Club, and was the main speaker at planning committee which got it thrown out. In addition he has done the usual stuff around councillor surgeries and street surgeries. Not bad for just 7 months in office, wouldn’t you say?

  3. smith says:

    hi bob
    I am very aware of Richard marshell not only did i vote for him i worked with him on stony lane fun day, I know all about smethwick in a stew (I was collecting food xmas eve 2013 from german market for smethwick in a stew as a volunteer with the centre manager whoo started it) not much support around @ that time! until express and star ran article after i informed them.
    I was stating that smethwick is larger than bearwood and excited by what he may be able to achive sorry you feel agreaved by my comment.
    As to where have I been, right here in SMETHWICK as many of your colleges are aware.


    • Bob says:

      I’m not aggrieved. It just seems strange that you say you are aware of the things Richard does outside of Bearwood, yet express the view that you are excited to see whether he can do things ‘not just on his own patch’. I was simply explaining for those who may read what you are saying and don’t know what he is doing, is that in a very short time he has engaged in a number of activities already.

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