Birmingham & Black Country

New Kings Heath garden show called off over rain fears

Kings Heath Park
Image caption There were fears heavy equipment would "churn up" the park because of the wet conditions

Residents who fought to reinstate a popular gardening show at a park are "very sad" it has been called off.

Residents, businesses and gardening societies joined together to set up the new Birmingham Annual Gardening Show (Bags) at Kings Heath Park next month.

Jonathan Jaffa, chair of the Bags organising committee, said the decision was made because of the wet ground conditions and forecasts of more rain.

The group plans to use a £20,000 city council grant for next year's event.

The free show, planned for the weekend of 1 September, aimed to replace the Gardeners' Weekend, which has been running for about 30 years.

Mr Jaffa said the event had attracted up to 15,000 visitors and organisers hoped the new show would see between 5,000 and 10,000 visitors.

However, Mr Jaffa added under wetter conditions the previous show "had trashed" the park, which increased the cost of staging it.

Mr Jaffa said the costs had led to the city council cancelling the Kings Heath event last year and a replacement Flower Fest in the city centre was not well attended.

Kings Heath groups sent a petition to the council in October, calling for the event to be returned to the park.

It led to the organisations, which include the Centre Partnership and Kings Heath Floral Trail, receiving the council grant to run the event.

'Traditional show'

Mr Jaffa said: "The ground is still soft from all that rainfall following the wettest summer on record and the weather forecasters are saying more rain will fall.

"The park is famous for becoming boggy and you need nice weather, relatively speaking, for the show to be successful."

He said there were fears heavy equipment, such as generators, would "churn up the park".

The chairman added the decision was taken with the council's parks department, which feared for the condition of the Green Flag venue.

The Bags committee is meeting to discuss whether some parts of the planned show, such as the allotment element, can still take place at a different site.

The Birmingham Annual Gardening Show planned to go back to its traditional roots, featuring mainly growers, rather than wholesalers and unrelated craft stalls, he said.

And a circular bus was going to link the show with the new village square and car parks.

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