Sandwell benefits from 543 green spaces, with 323 green spaces (59%) having unrestricted access to the public. This is 3.63 hectares per 1,000 population and more unrestricted green space access than some other comparable local authorities.
Green Spaces include:
- 32 parks and gardens (including 9 Green Flag Parks).
- 211 amenity green spaces (from small local spaces to larger communal green spaces).
- 75 natural and semi-natural green spaces (including 9 recognised nature reserves).
- 22 green corridors (such as green walk ways, and green space that connects areas)
- 48 outdoor sports sites (including 15 playing pitches, 27 Multi Use Games Areas, 33 outdoor gyms, 4 Bowling Greens, and 12 BMX and skate facilities)
- 34 Allotment sites (with 1,336 plots)
- 69 play areas (including toddler and junior play facilities).
Green Spaces are developed and managed by a team of green space officers, play area inspectors and engineers, and nature reserve specialists.
The team works with our Green Services team, which includes ground maintenance operatives, environment response team operatives, water bodies technicians, park and countryside operatives, and gardeners.
Our Visitor Services Team manage our destination green spaces, which includes Lightwoods House and Park, and Sandwell Valley Country Park. This includes a new education service, launching in October 2022 a programme of school visits and countryside, animal welfare, horticulture, and volunteering in our green spaces.
Green Spaces Strategy Implementation and Business Plan 22 – 25
The Green Spaces Strategy Implementation and Business Plan 22 – 25 was approved by Cabinet on June 20th, 2022. You can read this strategy here.
This sets out our approach for the improvement and development of our green spaces, including:
- Focusing on the improvement of green spaces with low quality and value scores, the priority being those local and neighbourhood level green spaces that require investment.
- Modernising the ways of working for our green spaces team, including new digital systems to plan and track work (PSS Live) and venue/playing pitches bookings (Bookteq and Playfinder).
- Developing improvement plans for all green spaces in Sandwell over the next three years, with all parks and gardens, nature reserves, playing pitches and green corridors in 22/23. These plans will list required and aspirational works and provide direction for our teams and residents in the improvement of green spaces.
- Publishing an annual programme of planned works, approved by Cabinet, for all green space and play area works.
- Working in partnership with residents, Friends Groups, community groups, businesses, schools and colleges, in the improvement and maintenance of all our green spaces.
Annual Programme of Works
With so many green spaces and facilities to look after, our annual programme of works is a way to share with residents what we can commit to each year for maintenance, improvements, and major projects. We committed to publish a quarterly update on our progress on the delivery of the Green Spaces Strategy and our programme of annual works. The latest update published in November 22 can be read here, and will be updated again in February 2023. Our programme for 22/23 includes:
- A programme of works to our nature reserves, play areas, green spaces, and outdoor sports facilities totalling around £4.5m in 22/23 financial year. You can read the most up to date list of works planned for 22/23 here.
- Starting the £2.4m Town’s Fund and Sandwell Council investment project into Britannia Park, Blackheath. You can read more about this project here.
- Completion of the £5.1m Heritage Lottery Fund and Sandwell Council investment project into West Smethwick Park, with the launch of a brand-new Pavilion and park, conservation, and heritage improvements. You can read more about this project here.
Getting Involved with Green Spaces
- Friends Groups are a key partner in the development, maintenance, and championing of our green spaces. You can read more about Friends Groups, and our proposals for improving the support and ways of working with Friends Group is here.
- Volunteering is a great way to keep active and well, and give back to the community. Our new Volunteer Development Officer will be promoting opportunities for volunteers to get trained and take part in green space improvements across Sandwell. Launching in November 22.
- Explore our Green Spaces, visitor experiences, and events at www.visitsandwell.co.uk
- How we look after our play areas and keep these safe.
- How you can report anti-social behaviour in green spaces.
- How you can report a fly tip, littering, a waste issue in a green space.
- About our football pitches and how you can hire these.
- About Sandwell Valley Country Park.
- About Lightwoods House and Park.