Construction work on a new community pavilion has begun at West Smethwick Park.
The project, which is part of the wider £5.1million restoration of the park, will see a new building with a café, conference facilities, community rooms and toilets built on the site of the previous pavilion, which was demolished in 1982.
Interclass, the construction company undertaking the work, is scheduled to complete the building by the end of 2021.
The pavilion will be operated by Sandwell Leisure Trust and forms another key component in the recent development in the Smethwick area, with the park being only a short distance from the new Sandwell Aquatics Centre.
The restoration project is being funded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with support from Sandwell Council, and will see many improvements throughout the park – including restoring, conserving and maintaining the park’s heritage features such as the Chance Memorial, drinking fountain and entrance gateways.
There will also be new and restored footpaths, plus improvements to the car parking area.
The project will also focus on community engagement and will look to host a series of events and activities for the public, once Covid-19 restrictions allow.
Sandwell Council’s Deputy Leader Councillor Maria Crompton said: “We’re very pleased that the building work for the new pavilion has now begun.
“The building is going to be an excellent community facility, providing meeting places, toilets, community rooms and a café for visitors.
“The restoration project us yet another enhancement to Sandwell’s parks following our successes with Haden Hill Park, Dartmouth Park and most recently, Lightwoods Park.
“It will also be a great place for visitors attending the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games swimming and diving events next year, which are being hosted at the nearby Sandwell Aquatics Centre.”
Anne Jenkins, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Director, England Midlands and East said: “Regenerating and conserving public parks remains a high priority for us, as we commit to promoting more environmentally-sustainable heritage and increasing people’s wellbeing. Therefore, we are proud to support Sandwell Council in their restoration of West Smethwick Park.”
Ash Rai, Chief Executive, Sandwell Leisure Trust, said: “Sandwell Leisure Trust are delighted to have been awarded the tender to manage the new pavilion building at West Smethwick Park. We very much look forward to working in partnership with Sandwell Council to manage this park facility along with the new Sandwell Aquatics Centre located nearby.
“We have already been working to engage local people and host activities in the park including the popular Couch to 5K programme, dog and jog sessions and outdoor fitness classes. We are committed to building on our success to engage even more people in physical activity and these new facilities will afford even greater opportunities to do that.”
The £5.1million restoration and improvement project at West Smethwick Park is funded by a £4.5 million grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with the rest funded by Sandwell Council.
The plans for the park include:
- Restoring the memorial to James Chance which is a Grade II-listed structure built in 1897;
- Refurbishing the wall and piers and recreating gates and railings at the entrance gateways in West Park Road and Victoria Road;
- Restoration of the drinking fountain;
- Creating a new events area;
- Constructing a new boathouse feature;
- Nature conversation improvements including woodland, grassland and wetland works;
- New outdoor gym equipment;
- Restoring the airmen’s memorial where a plane crashed in 1944.