A leading Tory has infuriated conservationists by agreeing to sell off his 16th century home to developers who want to knock it down and build on the site.
Midland MEP Malcolm Harbour has been living in the historic Manor Cottage, Manor Road, Solihull, with his wife Penny for 17 years.
But the couple have agreed to sell the 400-year-old building to Berengaria Homes if the developer can win planning permission to put six houses in its place.
The move has sparked fury among local historians who have been trawling through records books in a bid to save the building from the bulldozer.
"The developers have withdrawn the planning application for now but we're worried they will come back with another one so we want to make sure the building is safe," said Trevor England, of Solihull's Local History Circle.
"I can understand Malcolm Harbour's position as there has been a lot of building next door to him and he's now overshadowed.
"But the building is Solihull's original Manor House - it only became known as Manor Cottage during the Arts and Crafts movement when it became trendy to have a cottage."
Fellow member of the group, Nigel Cameron, said: "The property goes back to 1295 when it was mentioned in the will of William de Odingsells who built the chantry at St Alphege Church in Solihull.
"We had a meeting with Solihull's conservation officer last week and the council is going to contact English Heritage to inquire about getting listed building status for Manor Cottage. It's the only structure left that survives from the ancient manor of Olton. We shall argue that from a historical point of view it should be saved."
Mrs Harbour said they had "reluctantly" agreed to sell to developers because they were surrounded by flats and the whole environment of the building had changed since 1988 when they moved in.
"We fought the development in 2003 but it went ahead and now, where there was a bungalow, there is a three-storey block of flats overlooking us."
Members of Solihull Council's conservation committee will discuss whether the building should be given local listed status at a meeting on January 16.
Concerns have long been expressed over developers buying up properties with large gardens and then knocking them down to build on the site. Last year John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, issued guidance that for the first time declared the curtilage of a property as 'previously developed' land, making it almost impossible for councils to refuse planning permission for new development.
At the time, Caroline Spelman, the shadow local and devolved affairs secretary and Conservative MP for Meriden, said Mr Prescott was 'sneakily' changing the definition of brownfield land, from disused industrial sites, to include 'leafy gardens'.