Birmingham City Council, acting as Trustees for Highbury Hall and grounds, are developing plans to sell parts of the former Chamberlain estate. The Highbury Trust plan has been under discussion for three or more years, and despite some changes, the basic idea is about selling as much land as possible in order to finance upkeep on the Hall itself. The original plan included sale of the Hall, but trustees felt that was an awkward proposition, and have since focused on how to create an endowment for maintenance of the Hall by selling other buildings and land.
Some of the background and details of this scheme will be discussed in a series of messages here. This message sets out the basic issue and identifies the areas in question. Future messages will discuss the Trust and its activities, how park users may be affected, give views on the issue from community groups and individuals, and report on any new information.
According to council documents, Highbury Trust owns the land bounded by Yew Tree Road, Moor Green Lane/Shutlock Lane, the park brook and Uffculme. The plan below shows the area in three colours. Green indicates Trust land that is included in Highbury Park and managed by the Parks department. Blue indicates Trust land managed by Finance, Civic and Commercial Catering, including Highbury Hall. The area marked in yellow is managed by Social Services, which includes Chamberlain House.
The areas marked in blue and yellow are being considered for sale, probably for housing development. Highbury Hall and its immediate vicinity would be excluded from the sale, but that still leaves a lot of land at risk along Yew Tree Road and below Highbury Hall and Chamberlain House.
There are several issues to consider with regard to the Trust plan, such as whether the land to be sold has historic value, whether the gardens laid out in those areas are significant enough to be included in a restoration project and/or whether the land is important as a nature conservation area. These and other issues will be discussed in future messages.