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Visitors centre and recreational space at Walsall's popular Arboretum



HIGHLIGHTS

  • Update to famous Arboretum dating back to 1870s
  • Sensitive restoration and new build
  • One of Walsall's most popular family attractions
  • 90% of spend on companies within 40 miles
  • Another project on time and budget for Midlands team

Walsall Arboretum is a Victorian public park located close to Walsall town centre that our team of construction specialists completely revamped and added new facilities to create a popular local attraction.

Thanks to our work, the arboretum attracts thousands each year and hosts many events, with our new visitors centre the main focal point of celebrations.

A local treasure

Dating back to 1874, the Arboretum is set in 73.5 hectares of land with iconic buildings and structures such as the Arboretum Clock Tower, the Boathouse, a 1920’s Bandstand and the former Tea Pavilion (Leckie Sons of Rest building).

By 2000s, much of it needed an upgrade, so the council set about finding the right company to make it fit for the 21st century.

Fast procurement

The council opted to use the Scape framework to provide a fast procurement method that meant it could save money for use on front line services. Using Scape Group meant it could contract quickly with Willmott Dixon as its sole contractor on the Major Works framework. Scape is OJEU approved and avoids duplication and costly time spent selecting companies, while it is also excellent value.

Willmott Dixon making a difference

To make the arboretum fit for the 21st century, our scope included incorporating part of the original building which dates back to the 1870's into the new visitor facility, a sensitive restoration that merged local heritage into a brand new future. The new Visitor Centre provides important educational areas for schools, as well as recreational space with café and offices.

Key features in the centre are:

  • A high quality information point and staffed reception
  • Education activities provided in a modern classroom
  • Meeting spaces for a wide range of groups and audiences
  • Accessible toilet facilities including baby change and feeding area
  • Accommodation for Arboretum staff team
  • Café at the heart of the park with indoor seating terraced decking

Want to know more? Contact Nick Gibb

Press reaction


Councillor Anthony Harris:

“The Visitors Centre is a major feature and will help transform our much-loved arboretum while opening up greater opportunities for
even more people to enjoy our premier park."