A CHRISTIAN group has won planning approval for a huge monument near Solihull, which would dominate the landscape in the north of the borough.
The ‘Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer’ monument will stand at 169ft (20m) between the M42 and the M6.
Applicants Eternal Wall expect the ‘colossal structure’ to attract 300,000 visitors each year, contributing £9.3 million to the Warwickshire economy.
The group said: “The iconic ‘eternal’ arch structure of Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will be constructed using a million bricks, each one representing an individual prayer that has been answered for people across the country.”
The development is led by Coventry resident Richard Gamble, a former chaplain to Leicester City FC.
Mr Gamble says he wants to fulfill a vision from God by building the giant Mobius strip on the ten acre site. “It’s been 16 years since the idea was first born. To finally receive the official consent is incredible. We are building a very special landmark and it is an amazing opportunity for the British people to leave a legacy of hope for future generations.
“Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will make hope visible to the UK. The unique thing about the project is that it’s all about the community: it’s crowdfunded and a million people will come together to crowd-create this incredible piece of art with their stories of hope. What we’re doing is historic.”
Lord Edmiston, the billionaire benefactor of the region’s Grace Academy schools, provided land for the wall after his Coleshill Manor estate was requisitioned for the construction of HS2.
Mr Edmiston, who made his fortune importing Subaru cars, was formerly a Conservative peer.
Mr Gamble added: “We want to celebrate and remember the prayers that God has answered for individuals throughout our nation’s history. Each answered prayer could provide hope to those who visit. Our desire is to create thought-provoking public art and offer a space for recreation and reflection for everyone.
“Our hope is that those who visit will see how God can bring peace in life’s storms and be encouraged to think about the power and relevance of prayer. One individual’s answered prayer can be another person’s hope.”
The Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry supports the build, he said: “‘Eternal Wall’ will stand as a wonderful, visible symbol of the magnitude and power of prayer. What’s most exciting about this project is the way it shows how, as each brick lies upon another, our prayers are not in isolation.
“Each of our prayers keys us more truly into Jesus and one another. Eternal Wall will be a sign that through our prayers, God’s will is being done on earth as in heaven, and that the Kingdom of God is coming.”
Paul Bulkeley, lead architect at design firm Snug, said: ‘It is an honour to have been chosen to design and deliver this project of national significance.
‘We are excited by the vision behind this groundbreaking project and are looking forward to working with the team to see it become a reality. At Snug Architects we believe this will be a structure that both inspires and engages visitors for many years to come.’
The Coleshill Manor site is also in line for a new £25 million surf centre, with a five-acre wave lagoon, after North Warwickshire County Council recently passed planning approval.
Developers hope the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will create 60 new jobs during its two year construction phase from 2021, with a further 20 full-time positions for employees to work for the charity in the visitor centre, café, bookstore and a 24 hour on-site chaplaincy support service.
They also estimated the monument will generate an additional gross social value of £1.4 billion, including £430 million in charitable donations.