Solihull Conservatives are moving forward with plans to create a new woodland in Solihull as well as calling for ‘gardens of reflection’ to be created in parks in all wards in the borough.
Part of the Council owned land between Dickens Heath and Shirley is already visited and enjoyed by the public and proposed habitat improvement work will also enable this space to become a more accessible public open space in the future. Last year Conservatives withdrew this land that formed part of the former draft local development plan (site 13) to create a new woodland and open space for residents of the borough. It was always intended to be a place for relaxation and enjoyment, but it is also important we have space for remembrance and reflection on the Covid-19 pandemic.
Blythe Ward Councillor, Ken Hawkins commented. “We aim to include a community orchard, which will form a natural remembrance garden for people across the borough to reflect upon the last year and the Covid-19 pandemic. We also hope to increase biodiversity and that habit improvement will also be part of the site. Our intention is to phase the development with longer term plans of a 'healing woodland' being planted over the next few years, but work will start towards the end of this year.”
Council Officers are this week starting to have conversations with key local community leads on what the public open space could look like. This woodland will be phased over the next few years and residents; schools and groups will have a big say in how it takes shape. Work on this exciting project will start towards the end of this year.
Karen Grinsell, Councillor for Shirley East added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all greatly. It is important Solihull residents have a permanent ‘Place of Reflection’ for us to remember those we have lost, not only from Covid, but also those who have passed during this unprecedented time. So as well as the woodland in Shirley, we are also calling for smaller gardens or areas of reflection to be created in all wards in the borough and I very much look forward to seeing plans emerge.”
The woodland will add value to our already excellent natural environment. Trees play a great part by absorbing air born carbon particles, reducing pollution, and helping soak up water to reduce flooding. Woodlands are also important to wildlife habitat.