Plans for eco-friendly health centre on ancient Black Country meadow

An eco-friendly health and wellbeing centre could take pride of place on ancient Black Country meadowland if campaigners are successful.

Artist David Johnson paints the site as the discussions about its future go on
Artist David Johnson paints the site as the discussions about its future go on

Plans to consult the wider Stourbridge community are now under way from the Corbett Meadow Action Group, backed by the Stourbridge Community Development Trust who describe the initiative as "world-beating".

They have commissioned local artist David Johnson to produce a painting of the ground-breaking facility to illustrate a future scene with a health and wellbeing pavilion built on site.

Activists’ proposals also include an outdoor environmental classroom, which will make use of the land, working with schools and other local stakeholders.

The centre would lead on green prescribing, helping people to get outside to improve mental health at the site behind Corbett Outpatients Centre.

Charles Church, part of Persimmon, has drawn up extensive plans, including 90 homes, for 14 acres of untouched land which protestors have been fighting to preserve.

Campaigners are made up of all political parties and community leaders and activists say the centre would be a viable alternative use for the site with improved “financial savings for the NHS and social capital returns.”

They are calling on Dudley Group NHS Trust Chief Executive Diane Wake to meet and listen to the health centre plans.

Corbett Meadow Action Group spokesman Lance Cartwright said: "Covid-19 has sparked greater recognition of how important it is for our emotional health to be outdoors, and how access to green space can address inequality.

"The NHS has a long-term plan committed to significantly expanding social prescribing and our plans fit perfectly with this.

"Social prescribing and community-based support can provide a massive boost to the NHS. It links people to nature-based interventions and activities, including walking in the fresh air.

"What better place is there than Corbett Meadow to take the lead in such healthy schemes?

"The Land Charter also allows for public land and assets to be disposed of under best consideration instead of best value.

"This will allow the NHS Trust to carry out its legal duty by taking account of cost savings and an increase in social capital over a 25-year period.

“We have widespread support for retention of the meadow. This comes from our local community, schools, councillors, MP Suzanne Webb, West Midlands mayor Andy Street and many others."

The meadow, off Vicarage Road, is part of land that was gifted to the people of Stourbridge in 1892 by John Corbett for the building of a hospital, and became part of the NHS in 1948.

It appears on maps as early as the 15th century, with the same visible features as it has today; making it the last remaining piece of old Amblecote.

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