Rumours over park plan quashed

Manufactured debate leads to symposium on future plans for Birmingham's Eastside park

A debate over a controversial Japanese design for an urban park has been quashed — but councillors have yet to decide on the actual design for the site. The Birmingham Civic Society and some local Conservative councillors have sought to dispel rumours that a Japanese-style park would be built in the Birmingham’s new Eastside regeneration development, calling for more traditional themes to be considered. However, in the lead-up to last week’s City Park Symposium, a conference aimed at providing design views for the park, a council representative said: “There were never any plans for a Japanese- themed garden. This was a manufactured debate, no designs have been confirmed and this is why the symposium is being held.” Delegates at the Millennium Point venue toured the 3.6ha site and heard speeches regarding its future development. Many suggestions were made by the 100-strong delegation but council officials decided it was still too soon to make any decisions. Some said that the park should be ecologically friendly and include water features and extensive green space. Meanwhile, others felt that the design should take into account the diverse population of Birmingham, focusing on culture, events and performance areas. The symposium was the first step towards a two-year delivery programme aiming to turn the site into a fitting amenity site that will be easily accessible to all. While it is still early days to determine the future of the park, one thing was clear from the symposium — there was no mention of Japanese themes being incorporated into the design.

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