Hateley Heath

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Hateley Heath is a residential area of West Bromwich, West Midlands.The population of the Sandwell ward taken at the 2011 census was 14,227.[1]

History[edit]

Although the first major housing developments around Hateley Heath took place in the Heath Lane area during 1930s when private builders built houses within the boundary of West Bromwich, the largest section of Hateley Heath was developed during the late 1940s and early 1950s just over the border in Wednesbury, with hundreds of new homes being built by the local council. The new homes initially very popular with their occupants, who appreciated modern facilities such as indoor toilets, bathrooms, running water, electricity and gardens. They had previously lived in 19th century slums which were largely without these facilities.

An infant school was built to serve the estate in 1950, replacing facilities at nearby Hill Top, followed by the junior school two years later. The infant and junior schools merged to form a single primary school in September 1999. The senior school at Hill Top remained open and was the most popular destination for the secondary school population of the estate until its closure in the early 1990s, since when nearby Wodensborough has been the main secondary school for pupils living in Hateley Heath.[2]

In 1966, Wednesbury urban district was absorbed into an expanded West Bromwich borough and was also incorporated into the township of West Bromwich, within which it has remained ever since. The opposite transfer of township took place with neighbouring Friar Park, which was now within the township of Wednesbury rather than West Bromwich.

By the 1980s, Hateley Heath was plagued by high unemployment and crime, and the condition of the housing was declining, although subsequent refurbishment projects saw the standard of housing improve. A small section of the estate, consisting of low-rise flats, was demolished and new housing was built in its place by both the public sector and private sector. Similar redevelopment took place in 2009 and 2010 with the council houses around the Pembroke Road area of the estate.

In January 1992, an Express & Star report claimed that Hateley Heath had some of the worst crime rates in the region.[3]It was estimated that six out of ten children living in Hateley Heath were involved in crime. Joyriding, burglaries, theft and vandalism were just some of the many problems that were reported to be plaguing the area. Several shopkeepers had closed their stores due to extensive theft and vandalism. In 1991 alone, no less than 1,006 crimes were recorded on the estate - an average of once in just over eight hours. Car thefts and break-ins were the most common crime in the area, followed closely behind by burglaries and vandalism. During the year, 48 people who lived on the estate were arrested on suspicion of various criminal offences, though it is unknown how many of these arrests resulted in a conviction. What is known is that all but three of the people arrested were aged under 25. Unemployment and social deprivation were blamed for the decline of Hateley Heath, with an unemployment rate of 14.9% in 1991, when the national rate was below 10%. However, parts of the nearby towns of Smethwick and Tipton had an even higher unemployment rate at this time, when Britain was in recession.

Hateley Heath has since improved with the aid of local community projects, along with the demolition of some of the worst housing and the construction of new housing for sale and rent. One of the first phases of the area's regeneration came between 1989 and 1993 when several blocks of unpopular council flats on the estate were demolished. Private housing was built on the site of the demolished flats. Most of the remaining homes have been comprehensively refurbished. Crime rates have also fallen since the 1990s.

A long standing joke in the area is that people from all around come to Hateley Heath from time to time to visit their hubcaps or alloys.

An abortion clinic opened in Hateley Heath and its known as crimestoppers.

A building in Hateley Heath had a sign on the door saying THIS DOOR IS ALARMED which sums up how people feel when they pass through it.

A recent survey asked 1000 men from Hateley Heath if they have had sex in the shower. 95% said yes and the other 5% have never been in prison.

Some older people in Hateley Heath can remember a time when cars had wheels.

A man was once seen in Hateley Heath wearing a shirt and tie and a blazer. He was known locally as the ACCUSED.

Facilities[edit]

The estate has been served by an infant school since 1950 and a junior school since 1952. Both of these schools replaced facilities at nearby Hill Top School, which remained open as a secondary school until 1992 and is now the site of a housing development.

A second primary school, Kent Close Primary, was opened on the estate in 1960 to serve the growing 5-11 population.[4] It closed in July 2005 and was later demolished.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sandwell Ward population 2011". Retrieved 18 December 2015. 
  2. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20100628134414/http://www.school-index.co.uk/index.php. Archived from the original on June 28, 2010. Retrieved July 21, 2010.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ midlandsmemories.com
  4. ^ "West Bromwich - Education | A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 17 (pp. 74-83)". British-history.ac.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  5. ^ England (2005-08-31). "EduBase - Kent Close Junior and Infant School". Education.gov.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 

Coordinates: 52°32′17″N 1°59′46″W / 52.538°N 1.996°W / 52.538; -1.996