Solihull Council is asking residents to suggest a name for a new public open space to be created in recognition of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new space, situated on land predominantly in Dickens Heath parish between Blythe and Shirley South (and formerly known as allocation 13 in the Council’s Local Plan) will be a place for people to remember and reflect on the pandemic. It is part of a borough-wide Council project to provide areas of remembrance for the families, friends and local communities affected by Covid-19.
Phase 1 will include wildflower meadows, a community orchard and a secret woodland garden with wooden carvings and boardwalks to link the three sections. Cherry trees will be planted at the entrance as a symbol of Covid remembrance and as a link to the cherry trees recently delivered to families and parish councils.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, said: “Last January we decided, as part of the Local Plan review process, that this land should remain as green belt and indeed that it would be a perfect location for a woodland. Then Covid struck and we thought that it would be appropriate to have a place that people can visit in years to come and think about those affected by the pandemic. This new public space brings those ideas together and we hope residents across the borough will be pleased that plans are moving forward.
He continues: “The next step is to find a suitable name for this new area. We’re asking people to email their suggestions to our Love Solihull team firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 16 December. The team, along with representatives from the local community, will choose the name and it will be announced in the new year. The groundwork itself should start in February.
Cllr Courts concludes: “We hope that this new site will provide areas of peace and contemplation as well as increasing biodiversity in the borough and supporting our Planting the Future campaign”
Stuart Woodhall, current chair of Shirley South Community Group, said: “We are really pleased with the progress that’s been made and to be involved in finding a name for this new public space. It’s an important part of our community, popular with families, cyclists and dog walkers. During the pandemic lots of people have been out enjoying the fresh air, fields and open space. The plans are going to enhance what is here already and ensure that people can continue to enjoy this land for a long time to come.”
Councillor Ken Hawkins, Cabinet Member for Environment and Highways said: “I would encourage people, in particular from the South Shirley and Dickens Heath communities, to get involved and come up with a name. Open spaces have been a lifeline for people during the pandemic and have an important role to play in supporting good mental health and wellbeing.”