The new urban park in Coventry has won its second major award after being praised for its innovation.

The Linear Park, which opened this spring, is a 700-metre environmental corridor from Belgrade Plaza in the city centre, passing under the ring road to Naul’s Mill Park and connecting to communities to the north.

Radford Brook has been brought back to the surface in a natural valley of wildflowers, while over 1,000 trees and saplings have been planted to help to screen the park from the impact of the ring road.

The park also includes a children’s play area, a climbing wall and a ‘Zen Arch’ structure that crosses the brook.

Following on from receiving the Community & Schools Development prize in the BALI National Landscape Awards, regeneration specialists Complex Development Projects (CDP) has now received a 2022 West Midlands National Park Award as part of the second annual WMNP International Lecture and Awards.

Katie Burn, of CDP, said winning a West Midlands National Park Award is a mark of recognition that the Linear Park has gone beyond what might be considered as ‘standard’ approaches to landscape and the connections people have with everyday places.

She said: “The judges were impressed that the Linear Park has addressed an issue that almost every city in the UK and most large towns will have in the form of ring roads and often elevated roadways.

“The panel thought this was an excellent project demonstrating an inventive and sensitive way to deal with the issues caused by the UK’s legacy of elevated highways that separates and disconnects communities.

“We were also delighted to receive praise that the Linear Park has brought a sense of transformation and renewal to an unexpected place.

“To receive this accolade just months after winning an honour at the largest landscape awards in Europe underlines the impact the Linear Park is having and is a real coup to everyone involved in the project.”

West Midlands National Park Awards are given to projects that impress the international judges in the way that they push boundaries and respond to their particular contexts and circumstances.

One of the judges remarked: “When you see the before and after photos that this project has brought about, it’s a real lesson for other towns and cities who have the blight of these kinds of legacy infrastructures in place.”

CDP worked with the UK’s leading grounds maintenance and Coventry-headquartered landscape creation specialists Idverde UK, to create the Linear Park and the design was led by landscape architects Barton Wilmore.

The regeneration has been in partnership with Coventry City Council and supported by West Midlands Combined Authority which has invested over £2 million in the landscaping project.

The WMNP Awards programme, launched in 2021, is designed to recognise, celebrate, and share best practices, policy and research and to guide and inspire work that deals with challenges faced by the region that includes the climate emergency, regeneration, environment, transport, identity, infrastructure, employment, skills well-being and understanding how to achieve a resilient green recovery.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said “Our region is helping to lead the way when it comes to tackling the climate emergency – thanks to our #WM2041 net zero commitment and focus on sustainable forms of economic growth.

“The West Midlands National Park endeavour is an important contributor to our overall vision of environmental excellence. These WMNP Project Awards demonstrate our desire to move from words to action – showcasing outstanding ways to reimagine landscape. Congratulations to all award winners and the West Midlands National Park team.”

West Midlands National Park 2022 award winners are:

  • City of Nature, Birmingham City Council – also receives the WMNP Judges’ Award
  • Gramer Haor, Bangladesh, Co.LAB, Birmingham City University and Shahjala University of Science and Technology, Bangladesh – also receives the WMNP International Award
  • Naturally Connected Communities, RSPB
  • Planting Our Futures, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Black Country GeoPark, a joint partnership with Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton Councils
  • Waterways for All, Canal & River Trust
  • Cultural Infrastructure Map, West Midlands Combined Authority
  • Making Space for Nature, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Linear Park Coventry, Complex Development Projects Ltd
  • Blossom Together in Birmingham, The National Trust
  • Purple Horizons, Walsall Council, Lichfield District Council & Natural England
  • Armed Forces Garden, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council with The Royal British Legion