Birmingham & Black Country

Fire damaged Sandwell Valley bird sanctuary to be rebuilt

Media captionSince the fire, the reserve has only been able to offer limited facilities for visitors

A visitor centre at a bird sanctuary, which was severely damaged by fire, is to be rebuilt after being given £600,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Sandwell Valley reserve in Tanhouse Avenue in Great Barr, Birmingham, was attacked by arsonists in March 2010.

It said some of the money will also be used to pay for education and outreach projects.

The sanctuary opened in 1983 and is home to more than 200 species of bird, as well as many butterfly species.

Site manager Nick Martin said: "We were devastated when we came in on the morning [of the fire] to find the centre couldn't be repaired and had to be pulled down.

"In the last couple of years we've taken the opportunity to plan to build something bigger and better and that's coming to a culmination with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund."

Mr Martin said work was expected to start early next year and take about a year to complete.

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