Words by Steve Sharma / Pics supplied by WLCA
Perry Common dates back to the 1920’s when farmland was acquired by Birmingham City Council to re-house families from elsewhere in the city.
The development of the Perry Common Estate provided residents with a spacious 2 or 3-bedroom houses and the added bonus of a front and back garden.
But by the 1980s, these non-brick Boot Houses were in very poor condition with chunks of concrete falling from properties, dampness wreaking havoc with people’s health, and metal supporting frames becoming very weak.
In 1989 a total of 908 families received a letter from the City Council declaring their homes would have to be demolished. The implications of this were devastating but community spirit soon change the course of history,
Passionate residents, united in their fight against the demolition, established Perry Common Residents Association. Shortly after, in 1994, eight of its members became the founding directors of the new Witton Lodge Community Association (WLCA).
Twenty-eight years later, WLCA has a long and proud track record of housing and capital asset development and management across the north of the city. The registered landlord is thriving, with a portfolio of 200 homes, providing affordable, safe sanctuary to families across North Birmingham.
In 2017, the Association set up a subsidiary, Witton Lodge Community Homes (WLCH) to progress housing and community asset development aspirations. It pursues a dedicated housing agenda, namely, to provide affordable and social housing which meets the needs of the local community.
WLCH targets such empty properties to bring them back into use while working with the City Council and other stakeholders to explore opportunities for new build development which can provide affordable housing solutions.
In February 2021 there were over 17,000 applicants on Birmingham City Council’s housing waiting list; the local authority area within which we deliver our services. In addition, there are more 9,000 empty properties in the city.
Having achieved registered provider status with Homes England, WLCH can now apply directly for funding to develop and manage properties.
WLCA Homes and Assets Development Manager, Gareth Hopkins, said: “We have invested in our homes to make them more energy efficient. Solar Photovoltaic panels have been installed on 93 of our properties (the remaining properties are not eligible for the SPV Panels) ensuring that our tenants benefit first hand from savings with electricity consumption costs.
“As a renewable source of power, solar energy has an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change, which is critical to protecting humans, wildlife and eco systems.
“We have also installed 132 A Rated Boilers. This has helped our tenants save up to £500 a year on their energy costs. The new boilers are also more energy efficient and help cut carbon footprint. We have also installed new doors and windows to 86 of our properties meaning our homes are more energy efficient.
“We have aspirations to do even more using our planned maintenance programme to replace more boilers (non-gas), doors and windows. When we purchase new properties we will retrofit them with new windows, boilers but also consider improvements such as solar water heating, floor and wall insulation where this is possible.
“We are proud to be investing in our properties and working towards local and national carbon zero targets and helping our Tenants save money on their energy bills.”
For more information on Witton Lodge Community Association visit www.wittonlodge.org.uk
For press and media enquiries call Steve Sharma on 0121 382 1930 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org