Monday, 16 May 2011

Lightwoods Park - help, I can't keep up!

A resident’s view of the latest goings on...
There has been lots happening over the last few months but if you haven’t known about it from the beginning here's a little summary for you, including:
  • Next meeting details
  • Consultation so far
  • Funding the renovations

First and foremost, take a look at the pictures and comments on the Lightwoods Park blog, if you weren’t there you missed out on an amazing day organised by Cherie at Sandwell Council and lots of local people.

But what else has been happening – and how did the May Day event come about?

Here’s a link to Sandwell Council’s progress report on all the improvement works that have been done already, since they took it over from Birmingham City Council.

Next meeting - 19 May 2011, St Mary's Church Hall, 7pm

·     This is for anyone who’s interested in the future of the Park and House.  The Council have called this meeting to discuss how the Friends Group should be organised and what its responsibilities should be.  The draft constitution can be found here.
·      So far there has been talk in previous meetings of having an elected Executive Committee overseeing the whole Park and then sub-committees which focus on particular areas of interest such as Events, the House, Facilities for Children and Young People, Horiculture, etc.

·     There are now nearly 300 people signed up to be Friends of the park but it's not been formally constituted yet so to attend meetings you don’t have to be signed up – just come along and see what’s discussed, put your views forward.  We’re all pretty friendly!

The council started consulting local people about what they’d want to see in the park and house on November 13th last year, during an open day in the park which 2,000 people attended.  

They’ve continued to listen to our ideas and wishes at meetings since then
(culminating in the May Day event). 

Some community volunteers have been complimenting this by starting to think about more in-depth workshops where local people can come play around with different ideas and debate options in detail.  Info on the first workshop can be found here.  

Volunteers will hopefully be getting back together in June to plan a round of consultations throughout the summer, so we can keep building a picture of your needs and wishes.

Ideas for the house so far include a cafe (the most popular bit), facilities for children, changing rooms and toilets, small business space, performance venues, meeting rooms for hire, an observatory... most of these things are possible, with some funding (more on that next) and local support to make it financially viable longer term.

For the park, current plans include a new children’s play area, better lighting and seating, regenerating the Shakespeare garden, refurbishing the bandstand and water features... the list goes on!

The crucial bit! Sandwell submitted a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund Parks for People programme. The bid was for around £4m I think.  We will be told if Lightwoods has been successful at stage one of the process in June 2011. 

After that it can take a year or so to prepare a stage 2 bid (all the complicated detail like exactly what the community want, detailed architectural plans and costings, etc).  Bids can be submitted in either February or August each year, and then there is a 4 month assessment period. 

So, if you’re a supporter of Lightwoods improvements you need to be in it for the long-haul.  And you need to get your thinking caps on if the lottery funding bid isn’t successful!

Come along to the next meeting for the very latest news and sign up for as little or as much as you like.  All enthusiasm welcome!

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