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St. Modwen is laying down the roots of the new Austin Park at Longbridge by planting hundreds of trees that have been specially imported from Wales and Germany.

More than 500 Himalayan Birch, Pin Oak, Goat Willow and Lime trees were hand selected at specialist nurseries to take pride of place at the new park, which is set to be the green heart of Longbridge town centre when it opens this summer.

The urban park will be the size of around two football pitches and will provide the new Longbridge community with high quality green space, footpaths, dramatic views and public art reflecting the site’s automotive history. Along with the trees, St. Modwen is adding more than 20,000 plants and installing scores of seating areas.

Mark Batchelor, Construction Manager for St. Modwen, said: “The trees are being strategically planted around Austin Park to create boundaries, provide shade and shelter for footpaths and seating areas and enhance the appeal of the impressive new park. In addition they will attract wildlife and bring an abundance of environmental benefits including improved air quality and reduced flooding risk.”

Austin Park is the first public park to be built in South West Birmingham in the last five decades. It is named after Lord Austin of Longbridge, who founded the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge in 1905, and will boast a 255 metre stretch of the River Rea which has been buried under the old factory for nearly 100 years.

It will give Longbridge residents, workers and visitors a place to socialise, exercise and get closer to nature while bringing economic, social, cultural and environmental values to the new community.

Set to open this summer, the £70 million Longbridge town centre will boast the Sainsbury’s store as well as a 75 bedroom Premier Inn and Beefeater Grill, cafés and restaurants, two new office buildings called Park Point and Seven House and extensive car parking.

The opening of Longbridge town centre will bring investment at the former MG Rover site up to £250 million since it was acquired by St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, in 2003. This investment has already created 1,160 permanent jobs through the development of the Technology Park, Cofton Centre and the £66 million new Bournville College, which opened in September 2011. The first 113 new homes have been delivered at Longbridge in partnership with the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and the £5 million youth centre, The Factory, opened in summer 2012.

The regeneration of Longbridge is a £1 billion project covering 468 acres. It aspires to create 10,000 jobs through a diverse range of industries, together with 2,000 new homes, the new town centre, parks and public open spaces.

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