A Birmingham suburb has a new heart after a £660,000 project to create a village square.
Accompanied by dancers, drummers and choirs, the new square in Kings Heath was officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Coun Anita Ward, and the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Rev David Urquhart, on Saturday October 15.
The project was masterminded by the All Saints Community Development Company, in collaboration with All Saints Parochial Church Council. The group secured a £430,000 grant for the square from Community Spaces, £210,000 from Birmingham City Council and £20,000 from Kings Heath Centre Partnership
The Village Square brings together three separate areas of ground into a place for meeting and relaxing and where a regular programme events and activities will take place.
Major features in the square include:
· A 'bubble pavement' water feature which symbolises refreshment, new life and Christian Baptism
· A paved labyrinth, designed by artist Alison Ogle in consultation with local young people and community groups and which includes mosaic inserts and quotations on the theme of 'Cherish Creation and Community’
· A paved Threshold/Swirl feature, which spirals outward from a restored Edwardian lamppost at the outer corner of the square toward the centre of the labyrinth and in which is cut a poem by local poet Rosie Miles who was a finalist for the 2010 Birmingham Poet laureate
· A re-sited and renovated War memorial with seating
· Landscaping and planting
It’s been hard work putting together such a complicated project but the results make it all worth while
During the opening ceremony, the Bishop switched on the water feature and blessed the venue. Music and song were performed by the Kings Heath Brass Quintet, the Eritrean church and the Sing Live! choir.
Landscape architect Simon Watkins and site construction supervisor Peter Smith “topped out” the paved labyrinth by laying the final piece, a centre steel inlay circle.
Vivien Thickett of the All Saints Community Development Company said:
“It’s been hard work putting together such a complicated project but the results make it all worth while. We now have a beautiful square for all members of the community to enjoy.”
Wendy Jenkins, programmes director at Groundwork UK, which manages Community Spaces, added: “The Kings Heath Village Square is one our flagship projects and I am delighted to see how the vision of the local community has become a reality