July 18, 2018

New West Midlands national park plans unveiled

midlands

A vision to create a national park in the West Midlands which would span more than seven cities and create hundreds of miles of green space, conservation areas and new cycle routes, has been unveiled.

The proposals have been drawn up by Kathryn Moore, professor of landscape architecture at Birmingham City University, and would make the region home to the UK’s 16th official national park.

The 15 existing parks are in areas including the Yorkshire Dales, Snowdonia, the New Forest and the Peak District.

The plans have already gained support from West Midlands mayor Andy Street, Meriden MP Dame Caroline Spelman and other key bodies around the region.

Planners have said the concept, which was unveiled at the Critical Artistic Thinking in Design Conference, would have the potential to support further regeneration, boost environmental conservation, improve transport link and drive inward investment and tourism into the region.

They have also said that a West Midlands National Park could also help create new jobs across the region region and boost the economy by transforming the image of the area.

The vision was formally unveiled during the conference which was held at Birmingham City University’s city centre campus and featured talks from Street, Dame Caroline Spelman and landscape architect James Corner.

Moore said: “When we think of a National Park our natural inclination is to look at rural areas but there are swathes of natural beauty right here in the heart of a metropolitan region.

“For a long time the West Midlands has been viewed as a concrete jungle and the way that we have carried out our planning and construction has fed into that but if you look at the maps in a different way, there is huge potential for this project.

“Not only could creating a national park bring some real economic, social and environmental benefits, it would also drive investment, boost tourism and create new jobs at the heart of the country.

“This vision is about making the most of the opportunities the region has right now and making sure the arrival of HS2, the Commonwealth Games and the City of Culture leave a lasting legacy here and something we can all be proud of.

“This vision is all about quality of life. We want to have a better life, here together in the West Midland National Park. It starts here. It will happen.”

The next steps will see case studies undertaken on the Tame Valley, Curzon Street and Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games bid to decide possible revenue streams and how the vision may be realised.

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