Birmingham City Council has vowed to hold a meeting to help secure the future of one of the city’s historical landmarks.
A public meeting will be held in September to discuss the future of the Highbury Hall estate, it has been confirmed. The move comes after the great-great granddaughter of Joseph Chamberlain accused the council of failing to organise talks.
Highbury Trust, a registered charity, was formed in 1932 when the Moseley estate of Joseph Chamberlain, one of the city’s greatest social reformers, was bequeathed to the city council to be used ‘for the benefit of the people of Birmingham’.
A coalition of community groups and worried individuals, including Mary de Vere Taylor, a direct descendant of Chamberlain’s, had all voiced concerns about the council’s management of Highbury Trust and there have been calls to establish an independent trust. The Charity Commission had stipulated the council must hold a public meeting but Ms de Vere Taylor had complained of inaction.
Ms de Vere Taylor, from Ashburton in Devon, said: “The council has so far failed to organise or even publicise such a meeting.
“I have asked Coun Whitby, leader of the council, to keep me informed of progress with arrangements for the meeting, but have had no reply to my most recent letter of June 8. I am surprised and disappointed.”
A council spokesman said: “An agreement was reached that a public meeting would be held by the end of September. The Charity Commission did not make a recommendation that there should be an independent trust established, instead they agreed with the council that a range of options needed to be considered.”