A campaigning group has accused Birmingham City Council of “stonewalling” plans to turn a decaying historic house into a community centre.

Rookery House in Erdington has stood empty since council staff relocated to other premises in October 2008.

The Rookery House Restoration Trust, which has been campaigning to turn the Grade II-listed mansion into a community centre for five years, claims it is no closer to taking over the day-to-day running of the house from the council.

But a council spokesman insisted talks were “still ongoing” in a bid to reach an agreement.

Trust chairman Jilly Bermingham said the group was becoming increasingly worried about the condition of the house, which dates back to 1725.

“Since the council closed it, the building is going to rot, has been vandalised and there is a hole in the roof,” she said.

“It is just heartbreaking. We are getting into a countdown now and we are getting to the point of no return. If we leave it much longer, it won’t be recognisable and will cost a lot of money to put right.”

The trust submitted their third, amended version of a business plan in August 2008 for the house, which was left in a covenant for the people of Erdington.

Plans include a cafe, meeting rooms and office space for start-up businesses as well as space for youth groups, but the Trust must wait for council approval of the plan before the building can be used again.

Ms Bermingham added: “Everything that we have asked to do by the council we have carried out, but we can’t get an answer – not a yes, a no or even a ‘go away’.

“There seems to be a stonewall of silence. We want the public to know that we are still here and we are still trying to sort this out.”

A council spokeswoman said there had to be a balance between “community resource and getting the best value for public money.”

He said: “We are continuing to hold conversations with the trust to help develop a business plan for the future of the building which is sustainable in the long term.”