Witton Lodge Community Association started life in 1994, established 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 decisions.
Along this journey, we have built and manage over 200 properties for rent and re-developed Perry Common Community Hall.
Over the years we have hosted and partnered a wide range of community events including the popular Spring into Summer Festival, Wyrley Festival of Fun and A Perry Common Christmas.
Our story has been an exciting journey and we have ambitious plans for the years to come!
The Perry Common ‘Boot’ Estate
Perry Common started life in the mid-1920s 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 in 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, Perry Common Residents Association had been set up, led by a passionate group of locals who were determined to stand up for their community. A combination of pressure from this Association 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 the newly formed Stockfield Community Association in Acock’s Green. The residents of Perry Common felt confident that they could do the same. Eight representatives from the Residents Association became the founding directors of the new Witton Lodge Community Association (WLCA).
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 which has been transformed into the Witton Lakes Eco Hub
WLCA works 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.