Trust buildings row takes fresh twist

Great-grand daughter of Victorian statesman seeks to become trustee of charity that runs Highbury Hall, his former home

The great-granddaughter of Victorian statesman Joseph Chamberlain has entered the dispute over the use of his former home, Highbury Hall, owned by a charity of which Birmingham City Council is the sole trustee.

Mary de Vere Taylor told Third Sector that she wanted to become a trustee of the charity to make sure her family's legacy was used properly. She said the council knew of her offer but had made no response so far.

"I believe that the council isn't running the place for the benefit of the community," she said, "and I'd like to see much wider representation on the board to correct that."

The council has been accused by Moseley Community Development Trust of using the building for non-charitable purposes without paying rent (24 February, page 3). The main building on the estate is a conference and banqueting centre.

A council committee last week agreed to remove a right to sell the house from its deed. The council did not respond to Third Sector's enquiries.

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