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Station Road, the main shopping street
Balsall Common shown within the West Midlands
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Balsall Common is a large village and one of the larger rural settlements in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, situated 7 miles (11 km) west of Coventry and 13 miles (21 km) to the east of Birmingham, to which it serves as a commuter village in the West Midlands. It is currently undergoing gradual suburbanisation and is increasingly considered as a small town in terms of its population.
The village is split between the civil parishes of Balsall, which also includes Balsall Street, Temple Balsall, Fen End, and Chadwick End, and has a population of 6,234 according to the 2001 census; and Berkswell. As of 2008, the population was approaching 7,000 residents. It also lies on the Heart of England Way.
The village is of recent origin; most of the houses and shops were built in the 20th century. Previously, the village consisted of a couple of hamlets of about six to twelve houses each and a few scattered cottages - as this map of 1889 shows. In the 1930s there began the development which linked these isolated buildings, but it was not until after World War II that the village really began to grow. With its proximity to the village of Meriden, 3 miles (4.8 km) away, Balsall Common is close to the precise (though much-disputed) geographic centre of England and thus is one of the furthest places from the UK coastline. The local secondary school is unsurprisingly named the Heart of England School. The local primary school is named Balsall Common Primary School.
Since the late-1990s, plans for a bypass, a large national supermarket and larger swathes of new housing have so far been circumvented. This is mainly due to Balsall Common being situated at the heart of the West Midlands green belt area known as the Meriden Gap, between Solihull and Coventry, and is thus subject to strict planning regulations. Therefore the village/town has so far not witnessed rapid growth given its location, as residents had long-feared that the village would act as a population overspill centre for Coventry, Solihull and Birmingham.
Several Premiership and Championship footballers live (and have lived) in Balsall Common, especially those playing with Coventry City, Birmingham City and Aston Villa. Including John Sillett, Trond Egil Soltvedt, Trevor Francis in the late 1970s, Lee Carsley and Robbie Keane. Other famous sporting residents include, former England cricket captain Bob Wyatt and Wimbledon ladies single champion Maud Watson. Former England international goalkeeper Peter Shilton briefly lived in the village from late-1995 to early-1996.. Another notable resident is Paddy Doyle of whom holds numerous endurance world records.
- Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : Solihull Retrieved 2009-11-22
- Pathways Nursery - Children's nursery based at Balsall Common Primary School serving the community for over 20 years.
- BalsallCom.Com - community website with forums run by local people.
- A brief history of Balsall Common
- grid reference SP238771
- Centre Stage - amateur dramatic group
Media related to Balsall Common at Wikimedia Commons