Artists and historians will be exploring the Tame and the area around, and the individual journeys through Witton and Perry Barr of residents past and present. There will be lots going on, including events, workshops, printed work and exhibitions for the whole community to get involved in.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Community Feedback #1

I have begun talking to the local community about what you would like to be included in the flood defences that will be built from 2014, and have got some great feedback. Thank you to everyone that I have spoken to so far, and I would still like to hear much more. Here is a summary of what you have been telling me so far.

The general consensus is that the visibility of the River Tame will be missed, and residents would like some see through parts to the flood defences so that they can still look at the river and the wildlife. People with children like to look at the river too, and go especially to the Holford Estate to see the ducks, so see through panels at child height would be a real benefit. Having a design that relates to the river behind would also be nice, for example, wavy or watery patterns.

Most people I have spoken to so far are really eager for myself and the rest of the project team to engage with the local schools and the other community resources. Many would especially like to see designs incorporated into the wall either made by or inspired by children's art work. The community centre is seen as a very important local asset and it is important to involve and use it.

There were suggestions and thoughts of how the defences could be used to show how the area has changed, or the journey of the area from past to present. Residents have told me about how neighbours who have now passed away talked of the industrial past of the area and the 'pounding machines'. They also think that it is vitally important to reflect the ethnicity of the whole community, from the past to the present day. Suggestions were made for working with the schools in looking at the history up until the present day.

Most residents want something that looks beautiful and bright.

Most residents that I have spoken to so far think that a green planted area would not be a good idea. They feel that even if a group could be got together to maintain these areas, they would be a magnet for litter and passers-by to damage the plants. Also, the long-term maintenance was a concern. Those in favour of a planted area do worry that it might not be maintained.

A shaped top was suggested, a wavy top was one suggestion, another was the silhoette of local buildings.
An area which has some kind of play equipment for children was suggested, as there is a shortage of local play areas.
There was generally positive feedback to using locally produced/invented materials and objects.

There were many suggestions to what local areas are important; the canals, the community centre, the schools, the people, the nearby parks, and a number of people stated that they would like more art activities in the area, including with the children, and that the community centre should be used more.

This is great feedback, and I would love to hear any more that you would like to share. Jenni.

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