An improvement scheme in Bearwood has brought big benefits to local residents with a major upgrade of public space and pathways and a much-improved bus station to create an impressive gateway into Sandwell. Sandwell Council has undertaken a major upgrade of the area – and along with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) improved the bus station – to make it an attractive and eye-catching area on the boundary with Birmingham.
Sandwell Council leader Councillor Steve Eling said: "We have made some very significant improvements at and around the Bearwood bus station which have substantially upgraded the whole area and given it a really impressive uplift.
"The council has greatly improved the open space around the bus station, the public car park and the surrounding footpaths to make this a very pleasant area for passengers and for local residents.
"We have completed some imaginative work on this scheme, which includes high-quality paving in the public open space, tree planting, seating areas and ornamental bollards."
The work, alongside the £5.2 million restoration project at Lightwoods Park and House, and TfWM’s improvements of the bus station, has made this a very attractive area and a very impressive gateway into Sandwell from the Birmingham boundary, he said.
TfWM has installed new bus shelters – three in the station and two on the nearby Hagley Road West – as well as installing real time information and tactile signage, plus contributing towards the costs of the new toilets.
TfWM is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
Councillor Richard Worrall, the chair of WMCA’s transport delivery committee which oversees the work of TfWM, said: “These works carried out will enhance the customer experience of public transport for users in the area.
“This was a perfect opportunity for us to work with Sandwell to improve areas of the community together and provide world class public transport facilities.
“These works have enhanced a very important bus interchange and busy community area, creating a gateway to the public transport and facilities available in Bearwood and the surrounding area.”
Councillor Eling said local people were also delighted that the redundant public toilets building had been demolished and replaced with new toilets and that new steps, a disabled access ramp and ornamental railing had been installed.
The work has brought about new, safer and easier links to the bus station and shops and Lightwoods Park and House.
An overgrown brick planter at the car park has been removed, improving accessibility and overgrown trees and shrubs near the Hagley Road bus stops have been cleared and thinned, improving safety for waiting passengers. It has opened up an area that had become a magnet for anti-social behaviour.
“The work extends and complements Sandwell’s recent improvements to the area between the bus station, Adkins Lane and Bearwood Road,” added Councillor Eling.
“Those improvements saw the return of the much-loved former King’s Head pillar clock that now forms the centrepiece to an attractive paved plaza, with benches and feature trees,” he added.
Design and construction work was co-ordinated by Sandwell Council through its planning and highway teams, in close liaison with TfWM, who jointly funded the paving works and renewed the bus shelters.
The total value of this year's works to the bus station paving, railings, vegetation clearance, tree planting, new shelters and installation of the automated toilet was around £239,000 funded jointly by Sandwell Council and TfWM.