Transformation is a real winner! HANDSWORTH: Park restored to its former glory scoops award.
A CITY park which has been restored to its former glory in a multi-million-pound makeover has scooped a prestigious award for Birmingham City Council.
Birmingham Civic Society has announced that Hands-worth Park is the winner of its Renaissance Award for 2006 after going from one of the city's most neglected green open spaces to a park to be proud of.
A pounds 9.5 million regeneration scheme was completed in July when the 63-acre Victorian park was reopened and boasted a newly restored bandstand, a cleaned and filtered boating lake, new Victorian-style railings, better pathways and flower beds.
The park itself is divided into two parts by a working railway line, with its western half being landscaped by the award-winning architect Richard Hartland Vertegans.
St Mary's Church, right next to the park in Hamstead Road, contains the graves of the fathers of the Industrial Revolution - James Watt, Matthew Boulton and William Murdoch.
Stephen Hartland, who chairs the Civic Society's planning committee, said: "The decision to make this award was unanimous and we were all highly impressed by the standard of the restoration and improvements to the park.
"A critical aspect is how it will benefit the local community and indeed Birmingham as a whole."
Coun Ray Hassall, cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, said: "I'm delighted that the Civic Society has recognised the multi-million pound improvements that have been made. "This grand old Victorian park has been restored to its former glory for the enjoyment of the local community now and for many years to come."
RENOVATED... the Victorian bandstand.' BLOOMING... Handsworth Park with new lake which has impressed Birmingham Civic Society's Stephen Hartland (right).