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A new heart for Kings Heath

Posted on 11 December 2013

A Birmingham suburb has a new heart after a £660,000 project to create a village square.

The Kings Heath Village Square project was masterminded by the All Saints Community Development Company in collaboration with All Saints Parochial Church Council. In a formerly dark and unwelcoming churchyard, the Village Square brings together three separate areas of ground into a place for meeting and relaxing and where a regular programme of events and activities now takes 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 into which is cut a poem by local poet Rosie Miles

• A re-sited and renovated War memorial with seating

• Landscaping and planting

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.”

The square has won several major prizes, including:

• The Excellence in Planning & Design for the Public Realm category in the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence, the premier awards for planning in the UK.

• A Level 5 Outstanding award from the Heart of England Royal Horticultural Society It’s Your Neighbourhood campaign.

• The Best Use of Arts and Culture in Regeneration category for the 2012 Regeneration and Renewal Awards

The Kings Heath Villlage Square was principally funded by a £430,000 grant from Community Spaces, a Big Lottery Fund programme managed by Groundwork UK. Additional support came from Birmingham City Council (£210,000) and Kings Heath Centre Partnership (£20,000).