"Grotspot" gets community makeover

By on 07/05/2014 in News

A well-known “grotspot” tunnel linking the Stirchley and Allens Croft neighbourhoods has been transformed thanks to help and contributions from local volunteers, young people, Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police and Network Rail.

The two week project, delivered during the Easter holidays, has transformed the space from a hotspot of graffiti, littering and anti-social behaviour to a much more pleasant community space and art project.

The tunnel passes under a main train-line, linking the The Worthings in Stirchley and Allens Croft Road in Brandwood and is well used by residents coming to and from local shops and schools. For a long time though, the location has also been a target for littering, graffiti tagging and anti-social behaviour much to the concern of local residents and families.

As a result the issue was prioritised for action by the Selly Oak District Neighbourhood Tasking Group, which is a multi-agency and community involved partnership tackling issues of local concern.

From this a number of improvements were made by Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police and Network Rail to address these issues such as clean-ups, repairs, changes to lighting and additional bollards (to stop mini-motos) before the idea of a community art project was also developed.

Thanks to funding from the Proceeds of Crime Act and from Birmingham City Council, a local street artist was commissioned to work with the council’s Youth Services team and young people from the area to come up with some design ideas for the site, which were then transformed into an Easter art project.

With an army of volunteers, which included 20 young people, local residents, staff from Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police and Network Rail, two weeks of Easter holidays graft was put in, cutting back vegetation, sweeping, scraping and preparing walls, painting and applying the artwork.

The result is a spectacular transformation from the dark and bleak grotspot it was before to a collection of murals relating to the area and Birmingham replacing damaged walls and graffiti and a much brighter, cleaner space.

Karen Cheney, Head of Selly Oak District, said: “We welcome this excellent partnership initiative between local services and residents, especially young people who have worked so hard to transform this space into something that the community can be proud of.”

The project has been very rewarding for all the young people involved and has so far been well received by local residents. More importantly no new graffiti has appeared and with the use of anti-graffiti coating any future tagging will be much easier to remove.

You can follow Community Safety activity for Birmingham South via Twitter:  @SouBhamComSafe or website: www.bhamsouthcommunitysafety.co.uk.

Ends

Notes to editors

1. Please contact Trudi Maybury, Birmingham Community Safety Partnership Communications Manager on 0121 464 6210 or trudi.maybury@birmingham.gov.uk

2. Additional photographs available via the Birminghamnewsroom Flickr feed.

3. Birmingham Community Safety Partnership is a joint partnership between Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service and other agencies that work together to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour that affects our communities.

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