Dickens Heath

Dickens Heath is a village and civil parish within the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull in the English county of West Midlands. It was previously part of the civil parish of Hockley Heath, and is near Cheswick Green and Hollywood.

For many hundreds of years, Dickens Heath was just a small agricultural community, situated partly in the civil parish of Solihull and partly in the civil parish of Tanworth-in-Arden. All of the development that has changed Dickens Heath from an agricultural hamlet into a modern new village has happened in little more than a decade. The continuing development has seen the population increase to over 4,000. Parkridge Homes are developing a mixed use village centre which upon completion will provide a development with three key locations, namely Market Square, Waterside and Garden Squares. Dickens Heath Village Centre features residential accommodation, alongside shops and leisure facilities, incorporating community amenities and on-site management services.

Although building on the final stage of Dickens Heath is still yet to happen with the current housing slump and slow sales of current stock being blamed, the village has become a vibrant centre with a high population of youngsters making the village a fun place to live.

Dickens Heath has attracted both criticism and praise in equal measure. With some traditional borough residents not liking the density of building in some elements of the development. In other areas, there has been a very positive response to aspects of the development, such as the broad range of housing styles and accommodation, as well as the new local primary school that is one of the only schools in the entire Solihull borough to be rated as 'outstanding' by the recent OFSTED inspection.

The village is served by the hourly (Mon-Sat) S7 bus service which links to Shirley and Solihull and to Whitlocks End station where it is timed to concide with trains departing to and arrving from Birmingham.


New Village timeline

Key milestones in the development of Dickens Heath New Village are:

•1989 The original concept for a new village was created in response to the search for housing land to accommodate 8,100 new homes in the borough between 1988 and 2001. •1991 The principle of a new village at Dickens Heath was examined at the Public Local Inquiry into the Council’s development plan (the Solihull Unitary Development Plan) •1992 The Government Inspector who conducted the Inquiry endorsed the principle of the new village and the site was subsequently released for housing by the Council with an estimated capacity of at least 850 dwellings •1994 The Council approved a detailed Master Plan. The Master Plan was to be implemented by the consortium of developers which included Berkeley Homes, Bryant Homes, Redrow Homes, Trencherwood Homes and David Wilson Homes. •1996 The original outline planning application for the new village was approved following the completion of a legal agreement to secure the provision of roads, footpaths, community facilities and open space, including the parkland, the village green, canal walkways and the nature reserve. •1997 Building of the new village began towards the end of the year •1998 The first house was completed and occupied in May •2002 Dickens Heath Primary School opened in September •2003 Detailed consent for Village Centre approved •2004 Library opened •2005 Market Square phase completed •2006 Waterside phase completed •2009 Garden Squares first phase completed •2009 Dickens Heath Parish Council created out of the former Hockley Heath Parish •2010 Dickens Heath Country Park designated a Local Nature Reserve •2010 Dickens Heath coat of arms commissioned from College of Arms

From the beginning, Solihull Council decided that Dickens Heath should possess the features of a traditional village, rather than just being a large housing estate in the country.

The concept plan of London architects John Simpson & Partners was subsequently developed and refined, in partnership with the Consortium of Developers, to become the approved Master Plan in 1995.

There are four key principles at the heart of the Master Plan, which proposes that the village should:

•have a clear identity, which gives residents a sense of place and belonging •echo the traditional features of village development including, homes, employment, recreation, social and welfare facilities •provide a range of housing, from first time buyer housing through to family housing and smaller units for the elderly, thereby creating a mixed community of all ages and income •create a safe and pleasing environment for pedestrians, whilst still accommodating the motor car

Famous quotes containing the words dickens and/or heath:

    The civility which money will purchase, is rarely extended to those who have none.
    —Charles Dickens (1812–1870)

    We are the trade union for pensioners and children, the trade union for the disabled and the sick ... the trade union for the nation as a whole.
    —Edward Heath (b. 1916)