A construction-crazy five year-old has been treated to a special tour of Birmingham’s £500 million Paradise regeneration scheme after contacting the project team to find out more about the construction process and the machinery involved.
Caroline Rudge, of Paradise development manager Argent, and Steve Fisher of phase one contractor Carillion, treated Oscar Robinson and his mum and dad, Clare and Matthew, of Hagley, to a special look at the construction site where major site clearance to remove a number of buildings, including the former library and Paradise Forum, is well underway.
Oscar even got to meet Neil Herbert, the operator of the EX1200 hydraulic high reach excavator which is being used to remove the buildings. One of only three in the country, the excavator weighs in excess of 165 tonnes, the equivalent of 120 average family cars, and reaches 65m, which is the height of over 15 double decker buses stacked on top of each other.
To mark his visit, Oscar was presented with some personalised Personal Protective Equipment, a certificate and toy excavator.
Dad Matthew said: “Oscar has always been fascinated by construction and demolition and loves playing with his toy diggers, cranes, bulldozers and dumper trucks. Even his favourite TV programmes are about construction projects! He saw that work was starting on the Paradise project and wrote a letter to the team at Carillion asking how they were going to clear the site and build the new buildings, which we forwarded to them on Twitter.
“Oscar was so thrilled to hear back and be invited to see the work for himself. He loved every minute of his visit and it was fascinating to get a special insight into such a high profile construction project and hear first hand from the team. Oscar will be following the progress of the Paradise scheme closely and will definitely be making regular visits back to the site. It is early days, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he ends up being inspired to work on projects like this in his future career!”
Caroline Rudge added: “Oscar has shown a real interest in the scheme and it is great to see a person so young with a passion for construction. We hope that Oscar will keep in touch and that his visit to the Paradise project might even inspire his future career.”
Set to dramatically change the Birmingham skyline, more than 150 people are involved in the major clearance works for the Paradise development site. More than 30,000 cubic meters of concrete, enough to fill 12 Olympic sized swimming pools, will be crushed, half of which will be re-used on site.
Construction of the first phase, which will comprise two premium contemporary speculative office buildings totalling more than 350,000 sq ft together with the enhancement of Chamberlain Square, is due to begin in mid-2016.
While work to clear the site takes place, the walkway through the old Paradise Forum has been closed together with a large part of Chamberlain Square for health and safety reasons. Pedestrians and cyclists have now been re-routed through Fletchers Walk.
Paradise is one of the UK’s most important city centre regeneration schemes, and will consolidate Birmingham’s position as a global business destination and attract new businesses, jobs and visitors. It is being brought forward through Paradise Circus Limited Partnership (PCLP), a private-public joint venture with Birmingham City Council, with private sector funding being managed by Hermes Investment Management, with Argent acting as development manager. The enabling and infrastructure works, currently underway, have been funded through an approved £61m investment by Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP).