Campaigners: Let city run historic Smethwick park

Campaigners have called for a historic park in Sandwell to be taken over by Birmingham City Council after it was repeatedly targeted by fly-tippers.

Campaigners: Let city run historic Smethwick park

Residents say Black Patch Park in Smethwick – believed to be the birthplace of Charlie Chaplin – has been neglected, with rubbish scattered around it on a regular basis. Although Sandwell Council has removed waste that has been dumped on several occasions, protestors and local residents believe the park has been in a state of decline for some time.

As the park is close the Birmingham border, many in the area believe it would be beneficial for it to be swallowed up by the second city.

Contact has already been made with Birmingham councillor Sharon Thompson to discuss the idea. The boundaries in Birmingham are set to change in 2018, with people being asked what they would like to see changed as part of a public consultation.

Charlie Chaplin's son Michael made a prestigious trip to the park in August to unveil a new monument but was forced to trudge through rubbish as he made his way through the park, to the embarrassment of visitors.

Some people living in the area believe the park is not as well-maintained as others in Sandwell.

Headache

Simon Baddeley, a founder member of the Friends of Black Patch Park group, said: "There is a certain logic to it. It was a Birmingham park until the 1950s and many of the people who use it are from Birmingham. There are no votes in that park for Sandwell, it is right in a little corner of the borough and they have other parks to look after. I would think Sandwell would be glad to be rid of the headache."

Councillor Thompson, who represents the Soho ward on Birmingham City Council, just over the border from Smethwick, suggested a move might not be out of the question.

She said: "It's not that simple, it would be down the Boundary Commission. There is a consultation around boundaries in general and the public have been invited to take part in that consultation. If people have concerns about Black Patch Park and have justifiable reasons why it should be in the Soho ward they should contribute towards that consultation.

"If Black Patch Park came into my ward I would obviously work with local residents to try and help them with anything they wanted to do."

Sandwell Council said it was not aware of any plans to change who has responsibility for Black Patch Park and said the fact it has cleared up five tonnes of rubbish this week had demonstrated its commitment to it.

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