Birmingham is blessed with an abundance of green space, and yet the distribution of parks in the city is very unequal, and worse still, many of the most economically disadvantaged parts suffer most from a green space deficit. With a huge rise in city centre living over the last two decades, in homes with no gardens, nowhere is the green deficit more stark than in the city centre. 

And this is why ROAM supports the CityPark4Brum campaign. This grassroots (!) group was started by Jim Tucker, having moved to the city with a young family from London. With the closure of the wholesale markets, he spotted the once in a generation opportunity for this substantial site to provide the much-needed park for the city. With over 11,000 signatures on his petition, it appeared that many locals agreed! Unfortunately, the Council’s brief for for the proposed Smithfield development has no such ambition. CityPark4Brum has been working with developers Lendlease to maximise green space within the scheme and Naomi joined other group members on a recent trip to London to visit Lendlease’s Elephant Park. I was great to see natural materials designed into a playful landscape, rather than a fenced in array of play equipment. However, whilst the design quality was impressive, the park’s size- similar to that proposed at Smithfield- would be too small for what the CityPark4Brum campaign is fighting for. 

Elephant Park, London SE17

Why a bigger park?

Whilst pockets of greenery exist in the city, we believe that every family in the city should have access to safe, green open space within a ten minute walk. And what do we mean by this? A space where parents feel comfortable to let a toddler run around  without fear of road danger, a place where there are trees to climb, and room to throw down a picnic blanket or a frisbee. A place for children to learn to ride a bike, kick a ball and balance along a log. No such place exists within a ten minute walk for anyone living in the city centre.  Furthermore, the City’s own policy states that 2hectares of green space should be provided for every thousand citizens. With around 6000 new residents expected  in the Smithfield development alone, the proposed green spaces are less than 50% of what’s required- never mind to address the deficit that exists already. We will continue to support CityPark4Brum in its mission, and to campaign for fairer access to safe, green space in all areas. 

For more on CityPark4Brum, go to or sign the petition