A public meeting is being held in a village tonight as part of efforts to save a young family from being evicted from a Grade II listed farm by Birmingham City Council.
The Elford estate, near Tamworth, was entrusted to the city council before the outbreak of the Second World War, but residents have long complained it has reneged on its promise and left it “to rot”.
Now it has angered villagers after revealing plans to sell Woodhouse Farm, a 22-acre smallholding which is part of the “dilapidated” estate, on the outskirts of Whittington.
The move – predicted to be worth £1 million – would see tenant Andrew Stone’s family evicted and end his plans to transform the farm into a social project.
Mr Stone said: “The councillors turned down our plan for the farm even though we offered to restore the property at our own expense. Instead they are going to sell it to the highest bidder.
“It was heartbreaking to see how the council let my elderly parents’ home go to ruin while they were still living there. Ceilings have collapsed through damp and the roof is leaking.”
Deborah Barnish, who is campaigning on behalf of the Stone family, said: “Woodhouse Farm was given to the council in 1935 as part of a 600-acre estate it promised to keep properly maintained for the access and benefit of ordinary people. But city councillors have left the estate’s buildings, its Capability Brown landscape and tenanted holdings to rot.
“The councillors’ decision is a complete betrayal of the trust in which the Elford Estate was given to them.”
A Birmingham City Council spokesman said the Trusts & Charities Sub-Committee had agreed that Woodhouse Farm should be sold, but welcomed a suggestion that the residents put their proposals for the management of the woods to a future meeting.
“While the future of the estate has remained unresolved we have maintained it to minimum standards and responded to requests for assistance from tenants.”