The Metropolitan Borough of Solihull
is a metropolitan borough
in the county of West Midlands
. It is named after its main town of Solihull
, which is the seat of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council. Much of the large residential population in the north of the borough centres on the communities of Castle Bromwich
, Chelmsley Wood
, Marston Green
and Smith's Wood
. To the south lie the towns of Solihull
The council is under Conservative control, with 26 of its 51 councillors representing the Conservative Party (as of 1 May 2008). The next largest party in the council is the Liberal Democrats with 18 councillors. A further 5 councillors represent the Labour Party, 1 councillor represents the British National Party and 1 councillor represents the Green Party.
Solihull probably derived its name from a 'miry or muddy' or soily hill. The parish church was built on a hill of stiff red marl, which turned to sticky mud in wet weather.
In 1894, Solihull (including the parishes of Shirley, Baddesley Clinton, Barston, Lapworth, Balsall, Bushwood, Elmdon, Knowle, Nuthurst, Packwood and Tanworth-in-Arden) was made into the Solihull Rural District in the county of Warwickshire. In 1932 some of its rural areas were taken away when the RDC was succeeded by Solihull Urban District Council. Expansion continued and Queen Elizabeth II granted a charter in 1954 making Solihull into a Municipal Borough; ten years later it was given the status of County Borough. Reorganisation of boundaries and council responsibilities in 1974 created the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull by the merger of the Solihull County Borough and most of the Meriden Rural District, which forms the main rural part of the borough and county. It included Balsall Common, Barston, Berkswell, Bickenhill, Castle Bromwich, Chelmsley Wood, Elmdon, Fordbridge, Hampton in Arden, Hockley Heath, Kingshurst, Knowle, Marston Green, Meriden, Olton, Smiths Wood, Solihull, Shirley and Temple Balsall.
In 1986 the Solihull borough effectively became a unitary authority when the West Midlands County Council was abolished. It remains part of the West Midlands for ceremonial purposes, and for functions such as policing, fire and public transport.
The borough is bordered by the M6
and the M40
and split by the M42
which divides the urban centre of the borough from the rural south and east. The borough’s transport links have led to a number of established large businesses being based in the borough, such as Land Rover, the National Exhibition Centre
and Birmingham International Airport
. A short automatic light transport system links the airport to the nearby Birmingham International railway station
. Around three quarters of the borough is greenbelt and a large proportion of that is worked farmland. The Borough shares its boundaries with Birmingham
to the west and north, Coventry
to the east, Warwickshire
to both the north and south, and Worcestershire
to the south west. The borough contains a sizeable rural
area known as the Meriden Gap
(after the village of Meriden
) which serves as a green belt
separating the Birmingham conurbation from the City of Coventry
For election purposes the council is divided up into the following wards based on civil parishes
. Each ward is represented by three councillors:
Coat of Arms
The constituent parts of the Borough's Coat of Arms are:
- Battlements, sickles and an oak tree with golden acorns, which represent the rural and agricultural nature of the Forest of Arden.
- The Black Griffin is taken from the arms of the Earls of Aylesford, who are associated with Meriden.
- The Silver Fleur-de-lys comes from the Digby family, who were associated with Fordbridge.
- The Black Greyhound is taken from the arms of the Greswolds, the family who built the 15th century house called the Manor House in the High Street, Solihull.
A stylised version of the coat of arms can be seen on the top left of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council's website pages, and the official, heraldic version appears on a dedicated page on the same site - external links below.
This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Solihull at current basic prices published
(pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics
with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
|| Regional Gross Value Added
|| Services |
|| 1,421 |
|| 2,082 |
|| 2,893 |
includes hunting and forestry
includes energy and construction
includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
Settlements in Solihull
Localities in the borough include:
- Balsall, Balsall Common, Barston, Bentley Heath, Berkswell, Bickenhill, Blossomfield
- Castle Bromwich, Catherine-de-Barnes, Chadwick End, Chelmsley Wood, Cheswick Green, Coleshill Heath
- Dickens Heath, Dorridge
- Elmdon, Elmdon Heath
- Hampton-in-Arden, Hockley Heath
- Kingshurst, Knowle
- Marston Green, Meriden, Monkspath Street
- Sharmans Cross, Shirley, Silhill, Smith's Wood, Solihull
- Temple Balsall, Tidbury Green
- Whitlock's End
Nearby Tourist Attractions in Solihull
- Baddesley Clinton. A moated manor house belonging to The National Trust, containing hiding places for priests who continued to minister to Roman Catholic families during the late 16th century.
- Dorridge. For some time Edith Holden, author of "The Diary of an Edwardian Lady", lived nearby.
- Hatton Country World and Shopping Village. A farm park just off the road from Solihull to Warwick with lots of animals, locks on the Grand Union Canal, falconry, adventure play, nature trail, as well as the shopping village with lots of art and crafts.
- Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon. Ex-Royal Air Force Station just off the M40 near Warwick. Now has weird, wonderful and world beating vehicles all under one roof, plus the story of the UK motor industry featuring 200 British vehicles.
- Kenilworth Castle. England's finest and most extensive castle ruins, between Coventry and Warwick. Henry V is said to have retired here after his victorious return from Agincourt, and Sir Walter Scott enhanced tales of the fortress in his novel Kenilworth of 1821.
- National Motorcycle Museum, Bickenhill. Display of 600 British machines, spanning the period 1898 to 1980. Now slowly re-opening after a disastrous fire. Also a conference centre.
- Packwood House. This is a stately timber framed Tudor home owned by the National Trust. It has a wealth of tapestries and fine furniture, also it is famous for its yew garden in which the trees are said to represent the Sermon on the Mount.
- Umberslade Children's Farm. A family run working farm a few miles south of Solihull that has animals, trailer and pony rides, adventure play and farm walks.