Heath Town Estate today (Tuesday) celebrated its 50th anniversary in style with a Royal visit from HRH The Duke of Gloucester.
He followed in the footsteps of his cousin, the late HRH Princess Margaret, who officially opened the estate half a century ago.
The Duke heard how £120 million plans are transforming the area, with a mixture of more than 300 new City of Wolverhampton Council and WV Living homes in the pipeline, and existing blocks already undergoing major improvements, alongside the creation of three new play areas and a football pitch.
He then met volunteers from 2017 Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service recipients, the Hope Community Project, Heath Town community leaders, local school children, Deputy Lieutenant for the West Midlands, Mr Martin Levermore, High Sheriff for the West Midlands, Mr Michael Kuo, The Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Claire Darke and consort, Dr Paul Darke, and senior representatives from City of Wolverhampton Council and Wolverhampton Homes.
HRH had a polaroid photograph taken with the three pupils of the winning drawings in a schools’ competition entitled ‘What do you think Heath Town Estate will look like in 50 years?’. The polaroid photograph and the drawings were then buried in a time capsule by the Duke, children and long-standing tenant and Heath Town photographer/historian, Vic Collins, who showed off a photo that he took of HRH Princess Margaret opening Heath Town.
City of Wolverhampton Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Assets and Housing, Councillor Peter Bilson, said:
We are delighted the Duke chose to visit Heath Town to help the community celebrate 50 years. It is very fitting half a century on from his cousin, HRH Princess Margaret, officially opening the estate.
We have made significant headway with works on the Heath Town estate and real change is happening. We can look forward to seeing the first bricks laid for the new council homes in the coming months.
The majority of the new homes will come with gardens and all will have access to their own parking - Heath Town will soon look like a very different place. It is a major development programme as part of £4.4 billion investment on site or in the pipeline across the city - and it will make a huge difference to the quality of life and housing choice for our residents.”
Shaun Aldis, Chief Executive for Wolverhampton Homes, added:
It was a privilege and a pleasure to join the Heath Town community in celebrating its 50th anniversary. We are so pleased that HRH The Duke of Gloucester could join us for the celebrations, to meet the residents and to see for himself the huge amount of work taking place there. The residents of Heath Town embody community spirit and I’m glad that we could reward them with a royal visit, 50 years on from when the estate was first opened by HRH Princess Margaret.”
Vic, also a Heath Town resident for decades said:
It’s been a fantastic day. I was honoured to meet HRH The Duke of Gloucester and to have the opportunity to showcase some of my photos of Heath Town throughout the ages. Some of my photos date back to the 1950s, before the estate was even built. The Duke took a keen interest in my photos from April 1969, taken of HRH Princess Margaret on the day the estate was opened.”
The day was rounded off with a celebratory community event held on the Long Ley ball court where there were stalls, face painting, five-a-side football, and The Way youth zone activities.
Image caption 1 (L-R): HRH The Duke of Gloucester buries the time capsule with schools’ competition winners Nicolas Janisz (St Stephen’s Primary School), Christina Izogie (formerly of Woden Primary School) and Reece Brookes (Trinity CofE Primary School), alongside Mayor of Wolverhampton, Cllr Claire Darke, Heath Town photographer/historian, Vic Collins, and Deputy Lieutenant for the West Midlands, Mr Martin Levermore