Express & Star

Brummies urged to nominate heritage assets they want to save from ‘council fire sale’

A new campaign urges Brummies to nominate council-owned assets they want to protect from a potential fire sale. Save Birmingham campaigners said they aim to ‘prevent or delay’ Birmingham City Council from flogging the city’s heritage.

Birmingham City Council

It comes after fears the broke authority might sell iconic landmarks – such as the Council House or Town Hall – at bargain bucket prices in a desperate bid to balance its books. The campaign looks to block or delay potential sales and force the authority to consider ‘community-based solutions instead’.

The group, made up of volunteers, said one solution would be to find partners and funding to allow key assets to become community-owned should a controversial fire sale go ahead. Dozens of Brummies have already nominated community places they want to save on the group’s website – launched last week.

Save Birmingham’s campaigns lead, Jeevan Jones, told us: “We want to protect our community places and offer solutions where communities can take greater control over running them. Residents can go on our website and nominate community places that matter to them.

“That’s the first step in providing official protection from council fire sales. Today we’re putting in an official application to formally protect the Town Hall – a historic venue – to delay a sale for up to six months.”

Mr Jones added that nominations are not just limited to well-known or “big heritage assets”, but also allotments, leisure centres, swimming pools and sports centres in local communities. “We’re really keen to spread this out to every part of Birmingham,” he said.

“The real aim is to demonstrate how much people care and prevent sales which leave residents worse off. We’re really concerned about what a fire sale of assets might mean for people of Birmingham. Our idea is to bring together local and national experts to help support communities to, either take on the running, or indeed take on the ownership of assets.”

Save Birmingham was established by Co-operatives West Midlands. The aim of the movement is to ’empower people to take positive action’.