Weekender: One-acre park opens at canal-side housing development

Left: Adam Willetts associate director Urban Splash, Badj Rahman technical project director and Planning and design Director Nigel Brewer both Places for People

A family fun day will mark the launch of a new park at Port Loop, which is being delivered by Port Loop developers Urban Splash and Places for People, alongside the Canal & River Trust and Birmingham City Council.

Designed by Grant Associates, the park “is a gift to the local community”, featuring playful grass mounds and a lawn on which residents and locals can host events, festivals and other events in the future.

Icknield Port Loop is a new neighbourhood that over the next seven years has the potential to build 1,150 new homes.

The developers have joined the “urban island” to the existing canal towpath, which is a 15-minute walk from Brindley Place and 20-25 to New Street.

Barges will act as water taxis on Sunday to ferry guests from Gas Street Basin to the park.

“Port Loop is about creating an exemplar neighbourhood for the city,” said Urban Splash’s Adam Willetts.

“This event is a chance for people from the local community, be it those already living there or those who hope to move to Port Loop in the future – and from broader Birmingham – to come and celebrate a new public space.”

Phase 1, which consists of 40 modular houses offering flexible living, will be completed at the end of August.

The overall project is working to a outline planning application, which means the phased approach (building between 35-150 homes at a time) helps with demand.

The second phase will see traditional homes designed by Birmingham-based Glenn Howells Architects who will build 37 mews-style houses.

In March, Homes England agreed a £7.45m loan from the Government’s Home Building Fund to help with the first phases of the project.

The weekend opening of the park will see partners mark the green space’s completion with a day-long, family friendly ‘Play Out Til Tea’ event.

Rotton Park Street will be closed to cars and transformed into a bustling area of play; closed to cars all day it will be divided into a range of playzones.

Local traders have been drafted in to ensure a broad food and drink offering, with ice cream, Joe’s Coffee Cart, Smoking Bagels, Bakers Pantry plus many more; the first 200 people through the door will also receive complimentary food vouchers to use on the day.

This the developers say will be the start of things to come at the development as they plan to transform old industrial buildings that flank the neighbourhood into a new Custard-factory style mixed-use work and event space.

Port Loop also benefits from the opening of the new council-led Ladywood Leisure Centre nearby and council plans to redevelop Edgbaston Reservoir, which the neighbourhood backs on to.

Nigel Brewer Planning and Design Director for Places for People said: “We are about building destinations for everyone. Not just houses and homes but mixed-use spaces.”

Play Out ‘Til Tea takes place at Port Loop from 11am-4pm on Sunday 21 July.