A planned £18 million Eastside city park in Birmingham is likely to be redesigned and the cost cut by a third, a senior councillor admitted last night.
Neville Summerfield, city council cabinet member for regeneration, said he had ordered officials to find a way of delivering the eight-acre green swathe through the heart of Eastside for £12 million.
The decision follows the council's failure to be short-listed for a £25 million Heritage Lottery Grant - which would have paid for the park and the development of cultural and tourism facilities in Digbeth.
Coun Summerfield (Con Brandwood) said he was certain Birmingham could get a "perfectly decent park" for £12 million, although he admitted all of the funding for the cheaper version is not yet in place.
He said the council was prepared to find £7.9 million toward the total cost.
A further £1 million will come from Section 106 grants - the payments landowners make to the council in return for planning permission.
The £3 million shortfall is likely to be covered by private sector sponsorship, Coun Summerfield said.
He added: "It was very disappointing we were not short-listed in our bid for £25 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The competition was very strong.
"We expect that a lot of our partners will be anxious to contribute to the £3 million shortfall. I understand there is the possibility of substantial funding coming from a partner source, although I am not going to announce that today. Things are looking extremely positive."
The decision to cut the cost of the park raises a major question about the future participation of London-based architects Patel Taylor, who were given a brief by the council to design an "iconic" attraction and came up with proposals which the council found would cost £18 million to deliver.
It emerged last month that several Eastside landowners were unhappy about drawings submitted by Patel Taylor, complaining to the council that the proposed layout did not connect well with surrounding buildings.
The firm, which was paid £250,000 to develop proposals, came up with a series of streams, jets and watercourses running the length of the park from Park Street Gardens past Millennium Point to the Digbeth Canal.
Council leaders have promised to complete what would be the first city centre park for more than 100 years by 2010, although funding difficulties may push back the timetable.