The journey of how Residents of Perry Common overcame the trauma and fragmentation of a community is best told through the words and experiences of the residents themselves. It is a multi-dimensional narrative with a number of Organisations, Churches, Resident associations playing vital roles in serving the community. At the heart of this activism is the voice of ordinary people determining their destinies.
After the initial shock of the letter declaring that 908 houses were to be demolished, the residents set about organising with a relentless favour. At first the residents formed four residents groups covering the north, south, east and west of the estate.
A major blow to the resident’s hopes of rebuilding the community came when it emerged that Birmingham City Council did not have the money for rebuilding the estate and due to central government rules, could not borrow the money to do this. Following the example of Stockfield in Acocks Green, the four residents groups merged into one; with two representatives from each of the four residents groups.
In March 1994 Witton Lodge Community Association (WLCA) was formed, giving the community a greater voice. From here there was no looking back.
The first of five phases of rebuilding was completed in 1996 and the final phase is set to commence in 2017.
The Resident Associations engaged with Birmingham City Council, Developers, Housing Associations and a range of solicitors, architects and other firms during the Regeneration Era. Witton Lodge Community Association was the vehicle chosen to oversee the re-development of the land and would become Social Landlords ploughing rent gathered into a wider flourishing community agenda for the whole area.
WLCA now has 187 properties to rent – including 40 apartments within Sycamore Court, an extra care scheme, and will be having a further 20 homes built in the near future.
Perry Common Community Hall was extended and fully refurbished – reopening in June 2012. The hall hosts a wide range of community activities from clubs to private parties.
The History of Perry Common Community Hall – research compiled by Jon Rostron