A third multi-million pound bid to restore and revamp the historic Highbury  Estate has been rejected.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund turned down the latest application for around £3m in December, the Chamberlain Highbury Trust has confirmed.

But a shake-up to application procedures has left the trust with enough optimism to make a fourth bid later this year.

The 32 acre estate in Moseley includes the Grade II* listed Highbury Hall, the home of famous Birmingham politician Joseph Chamberlain who served as mayor of the city.

Highbury Hall and estate in Moseley is in need of extensive renovation.
Highbury Hall and estate in Moseley is in need of extensive renovation.
 

Outlining the future vision trust chair Les Sparks said: "We believe that Highbury is the ideal location upon which to bring young people together to learn about civic governance, how cities like this are managed, and how they have been managed over the years with the opportunity to compare and contrast with the great work of Joseph Chamberlain in his day and how circumstances differ from there."

He stated the intention was to partner with schools and colleges to use the grand setting of Highbury to inspire young people into engaging more in local affairs, politics and governance.

Mr Sparks added: "We have had our ups and downs in terms of management with our city.

"We had a fine period when it was held up as the best governed city in the world, but local government has gone through a lot of change.

"All we really want to do is focus on the future. There is so much to be re-examined in terms of the changes to today's world."

Earlier this month Birmingham City Council's Trusts and Charities Committee awarded a £73,000 grant to the trust from the Highbury Estate funds, which will largely be going towards preparing a fourth lottery bid later this year.

Les Sparkes
 

Mr Sparks told the committee that while their last bid received positive feedback it was merely one among 47 applications in total worth £123m when the HLF only had £16m to allocate.

But he explained that changes to the organisation meant the next bid would be determined by a regional board as opposed to the main body in London, while bids would be capped at £5m meaning they would not have to complete with applications from large museums.

Mr Sparks added: "It looked a fairly bleak situation for us.

"We spent some time reviewing the position.

"The change that's been introduced, or about to be introduced from the 1st of April to the strategy and arrangements for the HLF, give us a great deal of encouragement to have another ago."