For decades, the Moseley Society has represented the well-heeled face of middle-class refinement in the city.
The group has fought vociferously to preserve the heritage of Moseley and has become a potent force at public meetings.
But the green leaves of this affluent suburb are being rustled after a pub landlord branded the civic group a bunch of “elderly, white, well off” people, who are stifling the winds of change.
Keith Marsden, owner of the Prince of Wales Pub in Moseley, has accused the Moseley Society of preventing the vibrant village from evolving into a fully fledged bohemian destination like Camden in London or Brighton, with its constant objections to change.
According to Mr Marsden, the only achievements of the “Moseley Mafia”, as he has dubbed the group, include campaigning against live music, trying to stop the opening of a Wetherspoon pub, delaying or preventing coffee bars from opening, introducing a policy which means no company will ever be able to reopen the Jug of Ale, amongst many other failures.
The 49-year-old said: “This small group of elderly, white, well off residents treat our pubs, restaurants and bars like a cancer.
“The Moseley Society don’t engage with the thousands of everyday folk in the village. Despite the small number of members and the lack of real representation, they are seen as the voice of Moseley and have massive influence on key issues which effect our lives.”
Mr Marsden said the society has been around for 30 years but there are now more empty shops in the area, no real daytime economy and no live music venues.
He has launched a campaign to bring about change by encouraging new people to join the society, offering those who pay the £6 membership fee, £6 to spend in his pub.
He said: “It’s time for them to move over. They have around 400 members and half of them are retired. I’ve just ceremoniously signed up and I want people to join.”
The Moseley Society lists the creation of conservation areas, a successful campaign to oppose road widening and another to prevent any more licences to serve alcohol within the village as its greatest achievements.
Claire Spencer, aged 27, who sits on the Moseley Society committee, welcomed Mr Marsden’s attempts to recruit new members but has hit back at his other claims.
She said: “He has made some really important points but expressed them rudely. He is right that the Moseley Society has a problem, with diversity. It is mostly retired people who are white and well off and this is not something that the management committee is happy about.
“Keith is trying to recruit through his pub, I’m sure he had a different agenda, but it is still good. It will also promote some of our activities and lectures and it’s a good idea.
“I’m mixed race and we want to be diverse and successful, and not a Camden or a Brighton, as Moseley doesn’t need to be anything else.
“His main problem seems to be the special licensing policy, but it’s perfectly legitimate. It doesn’t stop pubs opening in Moseley but gives residents a very strong hand.”
Miss Spencer, a communities group worker, rejected his accusations of snobbery, saying the society carries out a litter pick and maintains the garden at the Dovecote, where Moseley Hall Hospital patients go to recuperate.
She said: “The reason why there are empty premises in Moseley is not the fault of the Moseley Society. We have just come out of a very serious recession. Empty premises are a natural, and very sad consequence of that.
“Also, we do not support entrepreneurial efforts, as a city, to the extent that we should. Hopefully, Moseley becoming a Business Improvement District will help address that.”