Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell
—  Metropolitan borough  —
Sandwell Council House in Oldbury

Coat of Arms of the Borough Council
Sandwell shown within West Midlands
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region West Midlands
Metropolitan county West Midlands
Status Metropolitan borough
Admin HQ Oldbury
Incorporated 1 April 1974
 – Type Metropolitan district council
 – Body Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
 – Leadership Leader & Cabinet (Labour)
 – MPs Adrian Bailey
James Morris
John Spellar
Tom Watson
 – Total 33 sq mi (85.58 km2)
Area rank 233rd (of 326)
Population (2010 est.)
 – Total 292,800
 – Rank 29th (of 326)
 – Density 8,861.3/sq mi (3,421.4/km2)
 – Ethnicity 77.4% White
15.0% S.Asian
4.3% Black British
2.5% Mixed Race
Time zone GMT (UTC0)
 – Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
ONS code 00CS
OS grid reference SP025895

Sandwell is a metropolitan borough of the West Midlands with a population of around 289,100, and an area of 33 square miles (85 km2). The borough is named after Sandwell Priory, and spans a densely populated part of both the Black Country, and the West Midlands conurbation, encompassing the urban towns of Blackheath, Cradley Heath, Oldbury, Rowley Regis, Smethwick, Tipton, Tividale, Wednesbury, and West Bromwich. West Bromwich is the most populous town in Sandwell, but Sandwell Council House (the headquarters of Sandwell's local government) is located at Oldbury.

The Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell was formed in 1974 as part of the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 and is an amalgamation of the former County Borough of Warley and County Borough of West Bromwich. For its first 12 years Sandwell had a two-tier system of local government; Sandwell Council shared power with the West Midlands County Council. Since the Local Government Act 1985 Sandwell Council has effectively been a unitary authority, serving as the sole executive, deliberative and legislative body responsible for local policy, setting council tax, and allocating budget in the district.

Bordering Sandwell is the City of Birmingham to the east, the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley to the south and west, the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall to the north, and the City of Wolverhampton to the north-west. Spanning the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell are the parliamentary constituencies of West Bromwich West, West Bromwich East and Warley, and part of Halesowen and Rowley Regis, which crosses into the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley.

Since 2009, there has been a petition to merge Sandwell with Birmingham. If successful, Birmingham will almost double in size with a combined population of 1,300,000[1]



Street nameplate on Rutland Road in Smethwick in April 2007, showing painted out "County Borough" lettering.

The Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell was formed on 1 April 1974 as a merger of the county boroughs of Warley (ceremonially within Worcestershire) and West Bromwich (ceremonially within Staffordshire). Warley had formed in 1966 by a merger of the county borough of Smethwick with the Staffordshire borough of Rowley Regis and the Worcestershire town of Oldbury (itself part of an exclave of Shropshire until the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844) as well as parts of Dudley and Tipton. West Bromwich had also been expanded in 1966 to include the bulk of the boroughs of Tipton and Wednesbury as well as a small part of Coseley.

In 1986 the West Midlands County Council was abolished and Sandwell effectively became a unitary authority. Sandwell is divided into 24 Wards and is represented by 72 ward councillors.

West Bromwich is the largest town in Sandwell, however the council headquarters are based in Oldbury.

The borough was named after Sandwell Priory, the ruins of which are in Sandwell Valley. The local council has considered changing its name in the past, as many people outside of the West Midlands are confused as to where it is located, and in June 2002 a survey of borough residents was carried out. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed favoured retaining the name Sandwell.[2]

Sandwell College was opened in September 1986 following the merger of Warley College and West Bromwich College. It was originally currently based in the old Warley College buildings on Pound Road, Oldbury, and the West Bromwich College buildings on West Bromwich High Street, as well as a building in Smethwick town centre, but moved into a new single site campus in West Bromwich town centre in September 2011.


Most of Sandwell's councillors are members of the Labour Party, with the Labour party having run the council since the first election in 1973, apart from one year between 1978 and 1979 when the Conservatives had a majority.[3] As of the last election in 2011 the council is composed of the following councillors:[4]

Party Councillors
  Labour Party 58
  Conservative Party 9
  Liberal Democrats 3
  Independent 1
  Independent Socialist 1

From the borough's creation in 1974, all Members of Parliament (MPs) within its boundaries were Labour, but in the 2010 general election, Conservative party candidate James Morris was elected to the Halesowen and Rowley Regis seat which incorporates the Sandwell communities of Rowley Regis, Blackheath and Cradley Heath, and the neighbouring area of Halesowen which is situated within Dudley's borders. This is the very first time Sandwell has had a Tory MP - or indeed an MP from any party other than Labour.[5]


See also List of areas in Sandwell

Localities in the borough include:

  • Albion Estate
  • Bearwood
  • Cape Hill
  • Londonderry
  • Uplands
  • Friar Park

Local places of interest

Also see


External links

Coordinates: 52°30′19″N 2°1′2″W / 52.50528°N 2.01722°W / 52.50528; -2.01722

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