Our Story

Our Story

WLCA started life in 1994, by local residents, in response to plans to demolish the Perry Common estate. From then on, we have tirelessly helped the local community; through the demolition of the old estate and the rebuilding of the new – keeping the local community at the centre of this process and ensuring local people influence important decisions.

Along this journey, we have built 187 properties, that we rent directly and run the much improved and extended Perry Common Community Hall. This is a focal point for the local community, being busy throughout the week with different clubs and events. It’s also a great venue to hire out for your meetings and parties!

Throughout the year we host a wide array of community events including our very popular Spring into Spring festival and Christmas On The Ring.

We can help with Jobs and Skills, have a wide range of Environmental Projects and promote local good health and wellbeing through our Living Well work.

Our story has been one of an exciting 22 years and we have ambitious plans for the next 22 years!

 

The Perry Common ‘Boot’ Estate

Perry Common started life in the mid-1920s –1924 to be precise- when farmland was acquired by Birmingham City Corporation to re-house families from inner city areas. At this time, slum housing was a severe problem in Birmingham and sub-standard housing in inner city areas was an all too common sight in the city.

The building of the Perry Common Estate offered residents a spacious house, with 2 or 3 bedrooms and with the added bonus of a front and back garden on a tree lined street.

This was a fairly typical layout for estates throughout the country and certainly in Birmingham. But at Perry Common there was a difference! This difference was the construction of the houses; with the majority of the houses on the estate being constructed with concrete, supported by a steel frame.

This was seen as a cost effective and efficient way of construction, but in time led to severe structural problems.

 

A Community In Crisis

By the 1980s the ‘non brick’ houses on the estate were in very poor condition. Large chunks of concrete were falling from the houses, dampness was a severe problem and the metal supporting frames of many houses had developed serious weaknesses.

By the early 1990s the community of Perry Common was in crisis. In 1989, 908 families received a letter from Birmingham City Council stating that their home would have to be demolished. The implications of this were devastating to local people, including those who had bought their homes from the City Council. A further blow came when two years later it emerged that there was no central government funding to rebuild Perry Common and no money available from any other source.

A bleak future beckoned. But there was a light at the end of the tunnel….

 

A New Way Forward: Witton Lodge Community Association

By now, four Residents Associations had been set up in different parts of the estate, led by a passionate group of locals who were determined to stand up for their community. A combination of pressure from these associations and a strong will from the council to find a solution for Perry Common, led to an innovative proposition. A glimmer of hope emerged, and the community grabbed it with both hands.

A new approach was needed and inspiration for this came from Stockfield in Acock’s Green, where a new type of community association had been set up. The residents of Perry Common felt confident that they could do the same. They merged the four Perry Common Residents Associations, and two representatives from each became the founding directors of the new Witton Lodge Community Association (WLCA).

In March 1994 WLCA was born. Since then, we have gone from strength to strength, building 187 homes to date, including our 40 apartment Sycamore Court, Extra Care Scheme, which opened in 2000.

We refurbished Perry Common Community Hall in 2010, providing an excellent venue for a wide range of weekly clubs and events.  The building also houses our busy office. In 2015 we also acquired the former Park-Keepers Cottage at Witton Lakes and are working to develop this into an Environment Hub, incorporating the Velvet Community Orchard, which opened in 2009 and the Orchard Tea Room, opened in October 2016.

WLCA work with our local partners to host a wide range of events throughout the year and help to maintain a strong and vibrant community with our Jobs and Skills, Environment and Living Well work; not forgetting the very popular events that take place throughout the year.

Take a look at our What We Do, page to find out more.