Fire damaged Sandwell Valley bird sanctuary to be rebuilt

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

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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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  1.  
    Video: Fire takes hold 10:23:

    Dramatic footage showing Northfield Manor House on fire last night can be seen here.

    Northfield Manor House

    The flames and smoke could be seen from the Lickey Hills, about three miles (5km) away.

     
  2.  
    'Slight' hope for Manor House 10:13: Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    In the last few minutes one of the fire crew at Northfield Manor has told me the structural engineers have said there's a "slight" possibility they may be able to save some of the building.

    The other good news is they were able to contain the fire and stopped it spreading to neighbouring buildings.

     
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    Judy Stambouly says it was such a shame if the building has to be demolished. "Such a beautiful building and a great part of Birmingham history."

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  4.  
    News on the hour 09:57: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM

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    One hundred firefighters tackled the blaze last night. Listen Live

     
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    Cadburys donated house 09:31:

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    News on the hour 08:55: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM

    The former home of the Cadbury family in Birmingham has been destroyed in an arson attack.

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    Cadbury family 'shocked' 08:28:

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    Home to be demolished 08:08: Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

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  17.  
    Northfield Manor House fire 08:03:

    The former home of the Cadbury family in Birmingham has been destroyed in an arson attack, the fire service says.

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