Birmingham City Council has released the first look at preliminary images for what Perry Park and the area surrounding Alexander Stadium could look like during and after the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The images show how the under-threat Walsall Road Allotments will play a key part in the legacy of the Park, sparking jubilation at the 120-year-old site that is made up of 121 plots owned by people from 16 different countries.
At a meeting with representatives of the Walsall Road Allotments in Perry Barr, Birmingham City Council Leader and Birmingham 2022 chairman Ian Ward showed how the Park may look after more than £70 million ($92 million/€81 million) is invested in the regeneration of the Alexander Stadium that will host the athletics events and Opening and Closing Ceremonies of Birmingham 2022.
He also demonstrated how it will provide a "first-class legacy venue for grassroots and elite sport, and community facilities for the next generation".
The master planning for the long-term use of the Alexander Stadium site has considered a wide range of options, and an early conclusion of that work is that there is not a need to relocate the Walsall Road Allotments.
The heritage of them will be protected and they have been the part of the inspiration for creating a public space that is focused on well-being and leisure.
The addition of the newly-created green space will give citizens of Perry Hall, and the wider area, diversity of public space with the revamped park complementing the space that is available in the nearby Perry Hall Park.
As reported by Birmingham Live, more than 13,500 people had signed a petition demanding the Walsall Road Allotments were safeguarded for the city.
It came after campaigners learned the much-loved site were being considered for development by Birmingham City Council in the aftermath of the Games.
Walsall Road Allotments site manager Betty Farruggia, who runs the famous "Robert the Allotment Cat" Twitter page, said: "I am elated to hear that the allotment site will be retained.
"We will work closely with the Council in the months and years ahead to facilitate the smooth running of the Games and further develop the strong feeling of community that we have here and in the wider area.
"I would like to thank everyone for their support and the council who have listened to our comments and concerns."
I want to thank @AllotmentCat and the plot holders at Walsall Road Allotments for the contribution they have made to our vision for Perry Park and the area surrounding Alexander Stadium. pic.twitter.com/HmpuFn5ACa— LeaderofBirmingham (@BrumLeader) 11 April 2019
Ward added: "I'm delighted to reassure Robert the cat and his friends that the Walsall Road Allotments will be protected.
"The residents, businesses and community groups of Perry Barr should be at the very heart of Birmingham 2022 and we want to ensure that they feel the benefits of the Commonwealth Games.
"So, before making any final decisions about the wider Alexander Stadium site, we’ve spent a number of weeks listening to the plot holders and other interested parties about the current and future use of the allotments and the surrounding area.
"They are clearly passionately committed to Walsall Road Allotments and that's the type of community spirit that we'd like to see replicated right across the city in 2022 and beyond."
The final masterplan is due to be submitted to Birmingham City Council's Cabinet later this year and will set out an ambitious vision for the long-term redevelopment for the sport and community use of the Alexander Stadium site and surrounding area.
Alexander Stadium sits within the historic and well-used Perry Park and the masterplan will include exciting plans to redefine green space in Perry Barr.
These early ideas, including a naturescape, promenade and running trails, are currently draft concepts to be further developed for the final masterplan report.
"Engaging local communities and improving the health and well-being of our citizens, as well as attracting multi-million-pound investment and improvements in housing, transport infrastructure, and community facilities, are key drivers to us hosting the Commonwealth Games and shaping the legacy beyond," Ward said.
"We are very excited by these early plans and drawings showing us what could be possible to make this area one that is focused on not just a sport but also well-being and health living.
"It truly will be a destination venue that I hope the citizens of Perry Barr will be benefit from and be proud of for many years to come."
Birmingham was only awarded the Commonwealth Games on December 21 in 2017 after Durban in South Africa was stripped of the hosting rights for financial issues.
The city therefore has a shorter time than normal to prepare.