A Quarry Bank park is set to be revitalised with £1.8m of investment following a successful bid for a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund grant.
Dudley Council is collaborating with The Friends of Stevens Park and the Emily Jordan Foundation, which enables people with learning disabilities to work with support from the local community, to make the improvements.
Plans will be finalised early next year and will include restoration of the park gates, bandstand, footpaths and entrances. The park’s heritage will be highlighted to visitors, improvements to bio-diversity will be made and school and community activities will take place.
The park’s historical Tintern House on Park Road, sometimes called the Whitehouse building, will undergo extensive refurbishment. A sympathetic extension is also proposed to the back to allow space for a community café, where hot and cold drinks and light food will be served.
The Emily Jordan Foundation will use the building to undertake a number of skill and training sessions including bike refurbishment and repairs, metal recycling and horticulture with the group set to grow plants, flowers and vegetables. Rooms in the building will also be available for community hire.
There will also be a refurbishment of the park’s popular Peace Gardens to make them more accessible for wheelchair and buggy users.
Ernest Stevens, who was born and bred in Quarry Bank, gifted the park grounds and Tintern House to Quarry Bank Urban District council in 1921. Once a Victorian farm, it then became recreational space for people to enjoy in the local community.
Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, cabinet member for environment, said:
Dudley Council is committed to maintaining our valuable parks and green spaces and this funding will help us to maintain and preserve the heritage of this beautiful location.
I would like to extend my personal thanks to all the volunteers who have helped to make this successful bid possible. We are looking forward to working with The Friends of Stevens Park and the Emily Jordan Foundation to make these important improvements.”
David Sparks, Chair of the Friends of the Park, said:
This is the biggest thing to happen in the park since it was opened nearly 100 years ago. We look forward to working with the Emily Jordan Foundation, Dudley Council and the local community.”
HLF’s Chief Executive Ros Kerslake said on behalf of HLF and Big Lottery Fund:
Public parks are cherished community spaces and play a vital role in the nation’s health. This National Lottery investment will empower local people to maximise the potential of Stevens Park and boost local health and economic well-being.”
The final amount due from HLF is £1.4m, total project costs with match funding is £1.8m.