Birmingham City Council consults on future of charitable estate

Council accused of misusing property owned by the Highbury Trust

Birmingham City Council will hold a public meeting this month to hear suggestions on the future of a charity it manages.

The Charity Commission asked the council to consult local people after it was accused of misusing charitable property owned by the Highbury Trust, of which it is the sole trustee.

The trust looks after Highbury Hall, former home of the city's Victorian mayor Joseph Chamberlain, who bequeathed the hall and its gardens and parkland "to the benefit of the citizens of Birmingham".

The main building on the estate is used as a conference and banqueting centre, and another building has been converted into offices for social services staff.

Local campaigners said they were pleased the meeting was taking place, but sceptical it would solve problems.

Tony Thapar, director of local regeneration charity the Moseley Community Development Trust, said campaigners would continue to press the council to hold a full consultation on a new role for the trust.

A council spokesman said: "We are trying to find a use for the hall that will make it into a public venue."

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