The Kings Heath Village Square has won a award for “Best use of arts and culture” It comes just days before the Christmas lights switch on at the Village Square, which means even more to celebrate about!
“The Village Square is a great little bit of community regeneration in semi-suburban Birmingham that already seems to have become the heart of its local area,” says David Powell, director of David Powell Associates and chair of the panel that judged this category.
The scheme was conceived as part of the development of All Saints Church in Kings Heath, south Birmingham, and aimed to contribute to the wider regeneration of the area by creating a new village square that would incorporate local art and provide a space for performances and exhibitions. The square was completed in November 2011 and has already been used for concerts, community craft markets, carol singing and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The judges were pleased to see the leading role that local people had played in commissioning and designing the project through the All Saints Community Development Company. The square is used not only by the church, but also by a variety of community groups. Income generated by a local farmers’ market will be used to fund maintenance. The square incorporates artworks designed by local schools, youth groups, and senior citizens. A verse written by a local poet is etched into a decorative pathway within the square.
The judges felt that the square would provide long-lasting benefits: “We were impressed by the level of finish and quality,” says Powell. “It looked like it would stand good use over a number of years.
“It struck us that this project was relatively low risk with a probably low ongoing cost. It’s good to see something like this being done so well in what are remarkably tough times.”