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Chelmsley Wood

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Aerial Shot Takeoff Birmingham International Airport 2008 - Chelmsley Wood, Marston Green, Fordbridge, Bacon's End, Hams Hall & Coleshill

Part of the Chelmsley Wood complex, looking north-east towards Coleshill in the background. The M6 & M42 run across the top of the photo. Bacon's End (top-left), Fordbridge (bottom-left), Chelmsley (centre-right), Chelmund's Cross (top-right).

Chelmsley Wood is a town and large complex of housing estates in the North of the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, in the West Midlands, with a population of approximately 40,000. It was built as a series of overspill estates for Birmingham with 51 tower blocks and is located to the far-east of the city. It is located near Birmingham International Airport and the National Exhibition Centre. There are several bus routes linking the town with Birmingham, located about 8 miles away, as well as the town centre of Solihull.

HistoryEdit

Chelmsley Wood is a relatively new area, which was built in the 1960s on ancient woodland (part of the Forest of Arden) as an overspill estate for Birmingham. A shopping centre (which opened on 7 April 1970), a library, hall and a few public houses but no other leisure amenities were included. In recent years, it has tried to market itself as 'North Solihull,' but this has led to disbelief from the local people and press, perhaps because of the economical–political difference between the mostly working-class Chelmsley Wood and largely middle-class Solihull. With the adjoining neighbourhoods of Fordbridge and Smith's Wood, it became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull in 1974.

There were several other tower block estates constructed not far away to the north of Chelmsley Wood, such as Bromford and Castle Vale, although living conditions on these rapidly deteriorated in comparison. Similar to Castle Vale though was the layout of some of the estates in the Chelmsley Wood complex, with the roads and houses being arranged in a grid pattern.

Recent developmentEdit

The exact boundary of Chelmsley Wood has become blurred in recent years and Chelmsley Wood as a town has actually shrunk since it was built. Many areas that were considered to be Chelmsley Wood originally, have now become separate areas, notably the areas of Fordbridge, Smith's Wood, Kingshurst and Tile Cross.

In the last decade a number of new areas of housing have been built in the areas of greenfield land to the south of Chelmsley Wood. This greenfield area originally separated Chelmsley Wood from the more affluent town of Marston Green. These new areas of housing are often described as being in Marston Green, much to the resentment of residents of Marston Green who consider the new houses to be an extension of Chelmsley Wood. The new houses are indeed closer to Chelmsley Wood and separated from Marston Green by fields, and the confusion in the address of the new housing is probably an attempt by estate agents to increase the value of the houses.

Plans are currently under way to carry out the largest renovation of older parts of the town since the demolition of many tower blocks in the 1990's. The current plans propose changes to the central shopping centre area, including the construction of a large supermarket, as well as modernisation of housing and commercial buildings in the Craig Croft area of the town. In addition, there will be the renovation of the library and surrounding buildings

ReputationEdit

Chelmsley Wood suffers a poor reputation in some quarters. Some people perceive Chelmsley Wood to have very high crime rates, drug related problems, unemployment and poor standards of education. This reputation is in many ways not unfounded as all of these problems are more prevalent in Chelmsley Wood than surrounding areas, however when compared to housing estates in other areas of Birmingham and the United Kingdom with similar socio-economic backgrounds, Chelmsley Wood is a more successful example of urban planning.

Redevelopment projects include the demolition of Chelmsley Wood's Whitesmore School, and its replacement with the Grace Academy at a cost of £32 million.

Chelmsley Wood is also part of the wider Regeneration of North Solihull, a partnership between Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and the private sector. An estimated £1.8 billion will be invested over the next fifteen years.

Politically, Chelmsley Wood voters have been known for their strong support of Labour candidates at both local and national elections. However, in May 2006 the Chelmsley Wood ward of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council elected a candidate from the British National Party, the first in Solihull's history.

CultureEdit

Approximately fifty people are employed in the centre of Chelmsley Wood. North Solihull Sports Centre includes a swimming pool. There are several churches in Chelmsley Wood including Anglican, Roman Catholic, Baptist and the Renewal Church. There are also many pubs, clubs, parks and play areas.

Tower blocks of the Chelmsley Wood EstatesEdit

The Chelmsley Wood complex had 51 tower blocks until the late 1990's. The complex consists of 7 estates that are all closely linked to Chelmsley Wood. As of 2015 there are approximately 42 tower blocks left across the estates. Right next to Chelmsley Wood is Buckland End which has 2 tower blocks and Shard End which had 7 tower blocks, 6 of them being on Kitsland Road.

Chelmsley - 12 tower blocks

Chelmunds Cross - 4 tower blocks

  • Selwyn House, of Waterson Croft, Yorkminster Dr, built 1967 - 13 storeys
  • Somerville House, of Waterson Croft, Yorkminster Dr, built 1967 - 13 storeys
  • Mansfield House, of Woodlands Way, Yorkminster Dr, built 1967 - 11 storeys
  • Wadham House, of Woodlands War, Yorkminster Dr, built 1967 - 11 storeys

Fordbridge - 9 tower blocks - 1st to be built

Tile Cross - 6 tower blocks

Bacon's End - 4 tower blocks

Smith's Wood - 10 tower blocks

  • Newnham House, of Sheppey Dr (Area 10), built 1966 - 13 storeys
  • Birbeck House, of Guernsey Dr (Area 10), built 1966 - 13 storeys
  • Bedford House, of Sanda Croft (Area 10), built 1966 - 15 storeys
  • Westfield House, of Arran Way (Area 10), built 1966 - 15 storeys - Demolished 2012
  • Pembroke House, of Burtons Way, built 1967 - 15 storeys
  • Clare House, of Burtons Way, built 1967 - 15 storeys
  • Nuffield House, of Kingfisher Dr / Tamar Dr, built 1967 - 15 storeys - Demolished 2009-11
  • Worcester House, of Kingfisher Dr / Tamar Dr, built 1967 - 15 storeys - Demolished 2009-11
  • Gonville House, of Dove Way / Tamar Dr, built 1967 - 15 storeys - Demolished 2012
  • Girton House, of Dove Way / Tamar Dr, built 1967 - 15 storeys - Demolished 2012

Kingshurst Hall Estate - 6 tower blocks

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