Feedback is being invited on early proposals to transform Perry Park and deliver further enhancements to the Alexander Stadium following last summer's Commonwealth Games. The latest ideas have been shaped to support the aspirations of the Perry Barr 2040 Masterplan – to deliver a true legacy asset in the form of an improved park and a multi-purpose stadium with a year-round relevance for the local community and other users.
A key aspect of the plans is for the park to include spaces that are welcoming and easily accessible for social activity. The proposals include a café which would act as a focal point for visitors, as well as additional lighting, street furniture and signage to improve safety and wayfinding. In addition, spaces will be retained to accommodate events that the park continues to attract.
Space for physical activity is also a cornerstone of the proposals, to improve health and wellbeing. Notable features include a play facility suitable for different age groups and a sensory play garden for younger visitors to encourage interaction with local nature.
This would be complemented by running and walking trails to formalise existing routes, new cycle routes and a bridge across the stream to facilitate access and circular walks. Biodiversity will be supported through landscape enhancements including the planting of semi-mature trees and additional wetland along with improved access to key assets including Perry Reservoir and the Tame Valley Canal.
The proposals also include the retention of the ‘L’ shaped access road from the former Spectator Transport Mall, to provide vehicular access into Perry Park on a temporary basis during major events only. When events are not being held, the route would be dedicated for use by pedestrians, cyclists and park users.
An extension of the Gymnastics and Martial Arts Centre (GMAC), a key asset within the wider footprint of the Alexander Stadium, is also proposed – to provide better leisure facilities for the community as well as ensuring readiness for future major events and to support existing and future stadium tenants. The extension would enable an existing public gym to be relocated from the Stadium’s East Stand.
Other potential enhancements to diversify the leisure offer on site include a beach volleyball facility (subject to funding), using sand reclaimed from the Games-time city centre venue at Smithfield, as part of a collaboration with Volleyball England. Further additions could include covered seating and accessible toilets for the existing warm-up track as well as lighting for the throws field to improve usability.
For safety and security of site users, a permanent fence line is also proposed around the warm-up track, throws field, proposed beach volleyball facility, and the main stadium bowl. This fence line would include a gate to allow public access to the throws field when not in use for throws. This gate would be locked when the throws field is in use to ensure the safety of park users. Advance notice regarding the closure of this area would be provided.
Councillor Majid Mahmood, Cabinet Member for Environment at Birmingham City Council, said: “The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games were the catalyst for the transformation of the Alexander Stadium into a world-class athletics facility, which is by far and away the best in the UK.
“But we’ve always been clear that to secure a meaningful Games legacy, the improvements to the stadium need to be complemented by enhancements to the site’s other facilities, the surrounding Perry Park area and Perry Barr more widely. The shaping of the Perry Barr 2040 Masterplan included rich feedback and input from the local community, which has informed these initial proposals.
“Our aim has been to strike the right balance between what people enjoy about Perry Park and the Alexander Stadium and what will make both even more valuable and viable community assets in the future. This package of proposals is designed to elevate the park from a popular local facility in need of investment to a focal point for community and sporting activity that will also champion the area’s natural environment.
“We want to hear what people think of these proposals so we can move from these initial ideas through to final plans that can be delivered for the benefit of people of Perry Barr and others who use the site.” To view the proposals, visit the council’s Be Heard consultation hub. The feedback deadline is 14 August 2023.
Alternatively, feedback forms can be completed at the following locations:
- At the Gymnastics & Martial Arts Centre (GMAC), Walsall Road, Perry Barr, B42 2LR (please ask at reception);
- Tower Hill Library, Tower Hill, Birmingham, B42 1LG (please ask at reception);
- Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2ND (please ask at reception).
Feedback will be considered and a design update will be published ahead of the submission of the formal planning application in late summer 2023. At this point, everyone will have a second opportunity to review the proposals and submit formal comments to the council ahead of a final decision on the plans.
If ultimately approved, it is anticipated works would then run from early 2024 to autumn 2024.