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21/02/2020
Improvements to Titford Pools open space, Oldbury

Canal & River Trust in conjunction with partners the European Regional Development Fund, Highways England and Sandwell MBC are part-way through a far-reaching plan to deal with a number of issues that have built up over the years at Titford Pools, Oldbury.

Major works in recent months have seen the pools dredged, with over 20,000 tons of contaminated material removed from the site, in an effort to improve the water quality. New drainage systems will divert run-off from the M5, preventing it from entering the pools, to help ensure the problem does not re-occur.

The pools and surrounding areas will be cleaner and more attractive, helping to make the area’s ecology richer and more diverse. Work to improve and manage the island on the Titford Road side of the site is now complete.

A key objective of the next stage of the project is to make the site feel safer, better-connected, more attractive and useable as public open space. The project team are aware that the entrances off Birchfield lane and Richards Close are currently overgrown with unmanaged trees and paths that are muddy or waterlogged.

Canal & River Trust are mobilising teams of volunteers from the charity Birmingham Canal Navigations Society (BCNS), the Inland Waterways Association and Langley Waterside Care, to carry out remedial works to these areas, ahead of the bird-nesting season. This work will focus on:

  • Remove self-set trees and invasive vegetation
  • Thin the woodland structure to encourage new growth by removing weak or diseased trees
  • Clear vegetation around entrances to improve sight lines and open up the area

The first of these work parties is scheduled to take place on Saturday 29 February at 9.30am at the Birchfield Lane feeder access. All are welcome to come along and join us. Tools will be provided and no previous experience is necessary.

The work is planned to be complete by the end of March 2020.

Sam Taylor, ecologist from the Canal & River Trust, said:

“Titford Pools is a really pretty nature reserve right in the heart of Oldbury and is a pleasant surprise to anyone who is exploring the canals. We’ve already carried out works to dredge the pools and we’re now starting to cut back overgrown trees and bushes to really open up the area and make it more welcoming for local people and boaters.”

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for Safer Communities Councillor Maria Crompton said:

“Many thousands of motorists who pass this spot every day as they drive along the M5 viaduct will not realise that there is this wonderful little oasis sitting alongside the motorway and our very busy local road system.

“I can remember visiting the site as a young girl and I am delighted that the council is working with the Canal & River Trust, ERDF and Highways England to transform it and make it a better place to visit for people by boat, by bike and on foot.

“I am pleased that we are working with our partners to involve the local community and will be involving volunteers on the site to make it better for local people and wildlife. I urge anyone interested to get along to contribute to this marvellous project.”

The Canal & River Trust cares for and brings to life 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England & Wales. We believe waterways have the power to make a difference to people’s lives and that spending time by water can make us all healthier and happier. By bringing communities together to make a difference to their local waterway, we are creating places and spaces that can be used and enjoyed by everyone, every day. www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

European Regional Development Fund

The project is receiving up to £1,015,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

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