Acocks Green today
Acocks Green is about 4 miles south-east of Birmingham city centre. It has a recognisable centre itself, known as the "Green", which is at the junction of the Warwick Road and three local
through-routes. The boundary of Acocks Green can be seen as the canal along the northern edge, the city boundary along the east side, then Lakey Lane as far as Broomhall Crescent. From there a
line can be drawn to Fox Hollies Leisure Centre and continued along York Road to the North Warwickshire railway line. To complete the boundary the railway forms a barrier, as far as the
This area forms a natural community easily understood by local people. From the elections in June 2010, the new ward of Acocks Green mostly reflects this geographical area.
Transport access to Acocks Green is good, if congested much of the time. There is a station on the Birmingham to Oxford line, and another on the border with Tyseley, on the North Warwickshire line. A number of bus routes to and from the city reach here, and the Outer Circle route and a number of cross-city routes also serve the area. The Warwick Road can be very congested, but other roads such as Shirley Road, Fox Hollies Road, Stockfield Road, Olton Boulevard East and Yardley Road provide alternatives for many road users. Many years of controversy about a bypass have not led to any far-reaching solutions, as businesses have concerns about loss of passing trade and residents do not want increases in traffic past their houses. However a Smart Route project is due to change the main roasd through the centre in 2014-5.
There is some terraced housing in the area, but also a significant number of fine earlier Victorian houses. Very large municipal estates needing a degree of refurbishment are to be found in the south and to the west, and two estates have been rebuilt recently. Modern developments have been in the nature of replacement of large houses with groups of smaller ones, or small flat blocks, and replacements of sports clubs and nurseries with new estates. Three 1960s towers at Fox Hollies have been converted to warden-controlled blocks for the elderly. There has been an increase in the number of private residential homes over the last decade: the rebuilt Christadelphian home is still the largest in the area.
The population is very mixed. In the Fox Hollies area there are many elderly people, and there is a high degree of mobility of younger families. The ethnic minority population is growing strongly, including from Eastern Europe.
Industry exists on the western edges, by the railway and at Tyseley. The city is putting resources into regenerating Tyseley. Commercially, Acocks Green is an important shopping centre. The Warwick Road through to Olton is bordered by businesses of all kinds, although the number of charity shops has increased in recent years at the expense of other High Street enterprises. The Warwick Road now has two supermarkets, and there is one at Fox Hollies. Two of the supermarkets replaced pubs. There are other shop rows, at Olton Boulevard and Yardley Road, for example, and some of the businesses are struggling.
There are eight Primary schools and two secondary. There are now a number of private nurseries in the area. Adult education takes place at Stone Hall, Archbishop Ilsley Technology College,
Ninestiles Technology College, and Fox Hollies Leisure Centre. There is a large library at the Green.
A variety of places of worship can be found locally. St Mary's Anglican, Acocks Green Methodist, Acocks Green Baptist, and Holy Souls Roman Catholic churches are the largest, but there is a Christadelphian Hall, a Church of God of Prophecy, Acocks Green Mission, Birmingham City Mission, and a mosque on Alexander Road.
Culturally and socially the excellent Leisure Centre at Fox Hollies and the refurbished public library are the most important facilities, but there is a very active community centre at Fox Hollies Forum. The British Legion have a local office and club. The Baptist and Methodist churches also have meeting rooms. Other meeting rooms can be found in local pubs.
Yardley Road has a large police station. The Health Clinic on Shirley Road has been extended. Local Residents' Associations and two Neighbourhood Forums represent local people. There is a Village Partnership and Acocks Green is a Business Improvement District. Acocks Green Carnival takes place on the first Saturday in July on the Recreation Ground.
There is some interesting and attractive green space in Acocks Green. The Recreation Ground, Fox Hollies Park, Curtiss Gardens in front of the tower blocks on Fox Hollies Road and the linear open space along the Grand Union Canal are the largest examples, but Millennium Green off Yardley Road adjacent to the canal is a recent triumph for local people.
There are a number of listed buildings in the area. Statutorily listed buildings include: cottages at 89-93 Arden Road (Grade II), the Baptist Church on Yardley Road (Grade II), the Baptist church hall on Alexander Road (Grade II), St. Mary's church (Grade II), and the canal bridge at Woodcock Lane (Grade II). The City's Local List includes the Fire Station (Grade B) and Caretaker's house (Grade A) on Alexander Road, Police Station on Yardley Road (Grade B), a house on the corner of Elmdon Road, and the Library on Shirley Road (Grade A). There is a scheduled ancient monument in Fox Hollies Park, a Bronze Age burnt mound.
Acocks Green has a core of well-motivated and articulate people who are striving to maintain a local identity and promote a genuine sense of community. Constant effort is necessary from all its citizens, however, to preserve and develop this aim for Acocks Green, so that life for its citizens does not become just an accident of place.