£4.5m park revamp is backed by residents

Plans for a £4.5 million revamp of Lightwoods Park and House in Bearwood received a resounding thumbs-up as a week-long series of consultation roadshows got under way. 

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Residents were able to get a sneak preview of maps and drawings detailing the proposals in Thimblemill Library yesterday. They were also encouraged to give feedback. Park bosses want to make a raft of changes at the park that include improved entrances and paths plus the restoration of historic features such as the bandstand and drinking fountains.

They want to introduce a horticultural training centre linked to the Shakespeare garden and a new play space.

It is hoped that Lightwoods House will eventually be opened up for public use by introducing a café, a creche, and rooms for community use.

Among those impressed by the display was mother-of-two Dawn Hunt, a 44-year-old lecturer from Pitcairn Road in Bearwood.

“I think the park needs it,” she said. “There have been a lot of events in the park recently and there is a demand for good play space. I think the changes could bring in more visitors.”

Fork lift truck driver Danny Shields, aged 24, from South Road in Smethwick, agreed.

He said: “I think any improvements like this are brilliant. It’s needed because parts of the park have fallen into disrepair. There’s also been vandalism at Lightwoods House but, hopefully with this work, vandals will think twice.”

Semi-retired jeweller Barry Sansom, 72, ftom Wolverhampton New Road in Warley, said: “I go to Lightwoods Park a lot to walk the dog so I think it’s marvellous that they’re looking to improve it.”

Weddings, exhibitions and fairs would provide income for the maintenance of Lightwoods Park.

Sandwell Council hopes is planning to apply for a grant to fund the project in February.