Monday, December 17, 2012

Labour’s broken promise on Moseley Road baths

Labour’s broken promise on Moseley Road baths

With the news that the Labour administration have withdrawn the Heritage Lottery bid to restore Moseley Road baths still fresh – see and - it is worth re-visiting what the Labour Party promised in the 2012 local elections. 

......and lo and behold, here’s the Labour promise given to the Friends of Moseley Road baths – see - written by Moseley and Kings Heath Labour Councillor, Lisa Trickett. 

The key paragraph is the 3rd paragraph where she says: 
“We continue to urge the Council to take corporate responsibility, however, following representations from myself and Cllr Kennedy, I am delighted to be able to confirm that the Labour Group has now agreed that in the event of Labour taking control of the Council, the Baths would be made a corporate responsibility enabling the combined capabilities and resources of the Council, community and key stakeholders to be brought to bear in securing a future for the Baths.” 

Since that promise was made, Labour have taken power in Birmingham and they have NOT made Moseley Road baths a corporate responsibility. It is still run by the local Constituency, that Councillor Trickett said “Constituency Committees do not have the powers or resources to deliver on such a significant asset.” 

As residents in Moseley and Kings Heath Ward are discovering, both their Labour Councillors seem to be happy to repeatedly break their election promises.......and I haven’t even gone through the long list of promises broken by Labour Councillor Martin Straker-Welds.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Financial Panic spreads in Birmingham City Council as all Capital expenditure frozen

Financial Panic spreads in Birmingham City Council as all Capital expenditure frozen

The following letter has been sent to all Constituency Chairs informing them on the freezing of all capital expenditure in the Council with immediate effect

12 December 2012


Dear Chair

Corporate Capital Resources Review

The Leader of the Council has recently spoken about the scale of the financial challenge the City Council is facing. A significant part of this challenge relates to financing Equal Pay back pay costs, the extent of which has grown again following a recent Supreme Court judgement.

The Council is presently in dialogue with the DCLG as to the funding of Equal Pay payments not covered by existing Capitalisation approvals received.  DCLG have made it clear that the City Council's corporate capital resources need to form part of the solution, so I have asked the Director of Finance to carry out a detailed review of the available capital resources in the Capital Programme. Information to support this review is currently being gathered.

Regrettably, I have had no choice but to ask that from Friday 7 December no new financial commitments are entered into at this time in relation to uncommitted capital projects which will require the use of corporate capital resources to complete. No financial commitments should also be entered into in relation to underspends on projects using corporate resources.

"Uncommitted capital projects" means capital projects which have not yet been substantially started, for example, the main contract has not been let. There is no intention to halt work on projects whose main works are on site. Assistant Directors of Finance and their teams will help services resolve uncertain cases.

"Corporate capital resources" comprise the City Council's own money. These include allocations of corporate resources such as the Capital Community Chest and any capital receipts which are budgeted to support particular projects.

I must emphasise that it is not proposed to stop Community Chest capital projects which were approved by ward committees prior to 7 December.  In addition, capital projects funded from Government or other capital grants, including un-ringfenced government grants, are unaffected.

Whilst the capital review is being carried out, this spending freeze in relation to uncommitted corporate resources will need to be strictly observed in order to comply with the expectations of DCLG. The only potential exception is likely to be in relation to health and safety or similar statutory requirements.

I am not happy to have to take these measures, but given the scale of the Council’s equal pay liabilities and the position adopted by DCLG, I have no choice. 

Yours sincerely


Labour announce the disbanding of Birmingham’s Heritage Panel

Labour announce the disbanding of Birmingham’s Heritage Panel

Last week the Labour administration announced that its Heritage Panel would be disbanded. This decision is terrible news for Birmingham’s built heritage, since this panel has saved so much of Birmingham historic buildings from being flattened. 

The Heritage Panel has existed for over 20 years – when it exactly started I don’t know, but it definitely existed in 1990, since I joined it as the Campaign for Real Ale representative. The Heritage Panel is purely an advisory panel to the Council’s Planning Committee and is full of architectural historians. There are representatives from the Georgian Society, the Victorian Society, the 20th Century Society, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Britain and so on. The Panel costs nothing to run, since everyone attends it at their own cost. Yet, its value to the city is priceless. Members of the Panel will research the history of buildings and provide advice on whether a planning application will destroy the historic character of a building. Also, members act as the eyes-and-ears to the Council making them aware of any illegal work on historic buildings.

The Panel meets once a month and gives the Council their views on planning applications relating to statutory listed, locally listed and conservation area buildings.

At last week’s monthly meeting of the Heritage Panel, the Chair of the Committee, Councillor Barry Henley (Labour, Brandwood Ward) announced that the Panel would be disbanded. This caused uproar amongst its members. Councillor Paula Smith (Lib Dem, Hall Green), the Lib Dem representative on the Panel objected. Various members started shouting at Councillor Henley. One member left, slamming the door behind him.

The future of Birmingham historic buildings is now very vulnerable thanks to Birmingham’s Labour Councillors!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Letter confirming the pulling of the Heritage Lottery bid to restore Moseley Road baths

Letter confirming the pulling of the Heritage Lottery bid to restore Moseley Road baths

see below:



Labour pulls Heritage Lottery Bid for Moseley Road baths

Labour pulls Heritage Lottery Bid for Moseley Road baths

Bad news on our efforts to restore the historic Moseley Road baths and save it for future generations. Birmingham’s Labour run administration has pulled the submission for Heritage Lottery Funding to start the restoration of Moseley Road baths in 2014. 

Readers of my blog will know that earlier this year, as Cabinet member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, I had managed to persuade the Finance department of the Council had managed to set aside £3million to be used as match funding against a £5million bid for Heritage Lottery Funds. The total of £8million would do the following in the building:

  • Permanent repairs to the exterior fabric of the building with a life of 25 years – so basically a complete re-roofing to stop any water ingress 
  • Complete re-wiring and new machinery (eg new boilers) for the pool. We would be particular keen to install a combined heat and power system in the boiler house. This would heat all the buildings along Moseley Road and help to regenerate this corridor. 
  • Pool 2 maintained as a community swimming pool 
  • Pool 1 boarded over and used for community use. 
A future phase of the restoration would involve getting pool 1 back in use as a swimming pool. Estimated cost of doing this is £9million. 

For more details see

The Cabinet report giving the go-ahead for the Heritage Lottery Funding submission was supposed to be submitted to Cabinet on Monday 10th December, to enable the bid to be submitted by the 14th December deadline. The Deputy Leader, Councillor Ian Ward, has instead pulled the report and the bid. The impact of this is that the next round of Heritage Lottery Bids for bids in the £5million mark is in June. Will the Labour Council allow the bid to go-ahead then?

My understanding is that the Labour Council have frozen all future capital expenditure and any bids for external money, so as to review which to keep. Will the Heritage Lottery bid for Moseley Road baths survive this review?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bham Labour gets its facts wrong about food waste recycling schemes

Bham Labour gets its facts wrong about food waste recycling schemes

The debate over the imposition of 3 wheelie bins for every household in Birmingham, plus the privatisation of the refuse collection service came to Cabinet this afternoon. Councillor Deirdre Alden (Conservative, Edgbaston Ward) has written up an excellent report on the Chamberlain Files at 
One point I want to pick up on though for this blog report is the claim by the Labour Leadership at the Cabinet meeting that no authority was granted money from the government for the food waste recycling schemes. 

Readers of my blog will know that the money for the imposition of 3 wheelie bins per household came from a successful bid for government monies. The previous Conservative/Lib Dem administration wanted to bid for a city-wide roll out of food waste collections. Food waste collections are run successfully up and down Britain and have sent Council recycling rates through the roof. The new Labour administration dropped the food waste recycling scheme and instead bid for wheelie bins.

The claim by the Labour Leadership that not one single food waste scheme was successful in getting government money is utter tosh. 24 schemes were funded.
.............and here’s the list. This is a direct cut-and-paste from the government list of successful authorities, which can be downloaded at 
The 24 successful food waste recycling schemes are as follows: 

Bidder name Amount Description Households receving improved service
Barnet £4,492,311 Introducing a weekly food waste collection, to separate kitchen waste from garden waste, whilst supporting weekly residual waste collections. A reward scheme to encourage 'dry' recycling is also to be introduced across the borough.  140,000
Bournemouth £7,104,837 Enhancing the existing fortnightly co-mingled recycling collection; driving down the amount of waste produced per head of population; introducing an incentivised 'opt-in' weekly collection of food waste, and supporting weekly residual waste collections. 86,170
Brent £217,820 Supporting weekly residual collections for 8,600 flats whilst extending the weekly food waste collection.  8,600
Colchester £2,353,122 Introducing weekly food waste collections for all properties in the borough and supporting weekly residual waste collections. 77,500
Cumbria £606,230 Supporting weekly residual waste collections in three of the county’s districts (Allerdale, Barrow and Eden) whilst encouraging the removal of food from the waste stream in these areas. 102,534
Gravesham £4,915,990 Introducing a weekly food collection and supporting weekly collections of residual waste and recycling. 41,400
Hackney £1,337,000 Expanding weekly food waste collections to estate based households whilst increasing food waste yields from those properties already in receipt of the service and supporting a weekly residual waste collection service across the borough. 102,000
Haringey £682,600 Supporting weekly residual collections to Haringey's 25,000 flatted properties and introducing a weekly food waste collection for them. 25,000
Harlow £1,038,775 Supporting weekly residual waste collections for the district's 7,500 flats and introducing the collection of weekly food waste for them. 7,500
Hillingdon £1,151,200 Supporting a weekly residual waste collection and enhancing the existing fortnightly garden waste service to make it a weekly organic waste collection service, receiving both kitchen and garden waste. 86,000
Islington £406,594 Extending weekly food waste collections to an additional 10,000 estate properties and supporting weekly collections of recycling and residual waste. 10,000
Lewes £2,087,538 Adding a weekly food waste collection and a recycling rewards scheme for all its households whilst supporting weekly residual waste collections. 43,561
North Hertfordshire £853,490 Supporting weekly residual collections for 6,000 flats and adding food and cardboard recycling. 6,000
Northamptonshire Waste Partnership £1,513,504 Supporting weekly residual collections in some areas whilst introducing weekly food waste collections. Also moving to comingled recycling collection in some areas. 62,770
Oadby and Wigston £1,598,230 Converting the present weekly residual waste collection service to a weekly 'dual pass' residual and food waste collection service, enhancing wider recycling collection services and introducing a recycling rewards scheme. 22,538
Ribble Valley £750,000 Introducing new fortnightly mixed food and garden waste collections and supporting weekly residual waste collections.  24,929
Rochford £600,000 Supporting weekly residual waste and kitchen waste collections.  3,100
Southend-on-Sea £1,635,000 Supporting a weekly residual waste collection, and enhancing the current weekly food waste collection by delivering a targeted relaunch of the service and introducing a recycling rewards scheme. 68,000
Spelthorne £493,000 Supporting a weekly residual waste collection for 2,000 hard to access properties and providing a weekly co-mingled recycling and food waste collection service for them. 2,000
Sutton £2,826,011 Introducing a weekly food waste collection service to the whole borough and supporting weekly residual waste collections. 80,370
Tendring £624,500 Introducing a promotional campaign aimed at increasing participation in recycling as well as the purchase of additional recycling bins for flats whilst supporting weekly residual waste and food waste collections. 68,801
Thanet £999,425 Supporting weekly residual waste collections and introducing a weekly food waste collection service for 13,500 residents. 13,500
Trafford £6,386,244 Supporting a weekly residual waste collection and increasing the frequency of food/garden waste collections from fortnightly to weekly for all properties in the borough (whilst introducing the service into flats/terraced properties). 96,750
Wolverhampton £2,683,370 Encouraging recycling through the introduction of a recycling rewards scheme whilst supporting weekly residual and food waste collections. 105,000

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Labour announce the privatisation of Birmingham’s refuse collection service

Labour announce the privatisation of Birmingham’s refuse collection service

Tomorrow afternoon (Monday), the Labour run Cabinet for Birmingham City Council will press the button on the privatisation of Birmingham’s refuse collection, litter picking and street cleansing services.

The report can be seen at Go to paragraph 2.5

It will be interesting to know what Moseley and Kings Heath Ward Labour Councillor, Lisa Trickett, thinks of this, since she ran a ‘No to Privatisation of Council Services’ campaign in the May 2012. Indeed, she was repeatedly critical of my privatisation of the day-to-day management of our golf services.

Also, Councillor Trickett was happy to support “Keep Public Services Public” campaigns in her leaflets – see cutting below.


Will she now use her position as a Scrutiny Chair to block this privatisation of refuse services?

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Bham Lib Dem Leader calls Councillor Sir Albert Bore's claims "disingenuous"

Bham Lib Dem Leader calls Councillor Sir Albert Bore's claims "disingenuous"

Statement from Cllr Paul Tilsley, leader of the Liberal Democrat group:

"It is disingenuous of Sir Albert Bore to lay all the blame for his financial problems at the foot of the present coalition government and to claim there have been 'last minute cuts'.

The Chancellor yesterday spared councils from any further cuts next year. This is a bonus worth £10 million

Sir Albert Bore's alleged budget problems for next year include:

  • at least £30 million to be set aside to pay for the cost of equal pay claims. This is a problem that has accumulated over a decade;
  • £12 million to pay for his own Living Wage policy. This is the estimated cost of having to pay increased sums to contractors so they can raise wages;
  • £10 million for the new council tax benefit scheme. Most of this is being covered by collecting additional council tax from second home owners.

There are at least £4.5 million worth of grants available that he seems to be turning his nose up at.

This is:
  • £2 million for councils who maintain 100% council tax allowances for benefit recipients. Birmingham is proposing a 26% levy on some of our poorest families.
  • £2.5 million to keep council tax frozen

The key component in next year's budget plan has always been a £72 million cost increase, not cuts in government spending. Sir Albert Bore has repeatedly been asked by Liberal Democrat Councillors at council meetings to explain this and has repeatedly refused.

Only on Tuesday, asked to explain in a written question by myself, he replied with two words "not yet".

Across the country Labour councils have put in place 'slash and burn' policies and sought to blame the coalition government. Yet the previous coalition administration in Birmingham managed to save some £250 million by transforming the way the city worked and without  hammering front-line services."

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Labour's Wheelie Bin shambles at todays Full Council

Labour's Wheelie Bin shambles at todays Full Council

Below is a press release from Councillor Jon Hunt (Liberal Democrat Councillor for Perry Barr Ward)

Cabinet member James McKay was unable to respond to the Liberal Democrat
motion on wheelie bins last night after his own group denied him the time
needed to move their amendment.

In spite of failing to put across any case for wheelie bins, the Labour
group voted out the Liberal Democrat motion, which called for household
censuses to establish whether residents could manage the proposed system of
three new wheelie bins.

Cllr Jon Hunt, Liberal Democrat deputy leader, said: "It was a shambles.
Labour first tried to filibuster and repeatedly rejected requests for the
full-scale debate that residents deserve. In the end I and Cllr Neil
Eustace got to put our case as did two Conservative councillors. But
nobody from the majority Labour party was heard.

"Birmingham's residents are up in arms about this proposal. So far what we
have heard from Cllr Mackay does not give reassurance.

"It is not right that people should be kept in the dark."

During earlier questions the cabinet member revealed he was unaware that
many councils charge residents large sums for replacing wheelie bins that
are vandalised or lost. In Solihull the typical charge is more than £40.
Sheffield Council admits to losing some 10,000 wheelie bins a year.

Cllr Mackay also rejected the idea of allowing residents to "opt out" of
the scheme.

Labour's motion, voted through without any supporting speeches, promised a
"flexible" system of waste collection and a full consultation.

Jon Hunt said: "I'm puzzled about how you can have a flexible system
without allowing residents to make their own choice that they cannot manage
wheelie bins. Yet again we have been unable to get answers.

"In moving our motion I produced evidence that introducing wheelie bins is
going to be very difficult and potentially costly in Birmingham. What's not
generally realised is that our housing estates are very different from the
rest of the country because of the huge expansion of the city with
affordable, private homes in the 1920s and 1930s. Some 34% of our homes
date from this era compared with an average of 18% for the rest of England.
We have many fewer modern estates than elsewhere.

"That's why residents are up in arms. It's increasingly clear this was a
decision taken in haste and may prove to be fatally flawed."

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Why Highbury Trust should not become a fully independent trust?

Why Highbury Trust should not become a fully independent trust?

Followers of the local news will know that there is an ongoing debate over the future of Highbury Hall and its associated lands. Following pressure from a local group, the Council is considering cutting it ties with Highbury Hall and ground and allowing it to go fully independent. I think this would be a mistake and in this blog I argue that it should instead become semi-independent, with the Council still remaining the final Trustees. 

Background on the History of Highbury Trust

Highbury Hall and its grounds, form the northern section of Highbury Park. The large pond in the middle of Highbury Park is the southern edge of this estate. You can see the boundaries of the estate and what buildings are on it by looking at a powerpoint presentation I did at

Highbury Hall and Gardens were created in 1878 and was the home of Joseph Chamberlain MP, who was one of Britain’s most influential politicians in the late Victorian period. His two sons Austin and Neville, spent their childhood there. Austin would go to win the Nobel Peace Prize and Neville become Prime Minister. 

The family vacated Highbury Hall – emptying it of all furniture – in 1914. It was then handed over to the Council, as a charitable trust in 1932. The only demand on the running of the trust was that it should be “used for the benefit of the citizens of Birmingham”
To fit this aim, Highbury Hall was used as an elderly people home until 1985. In 1985, a large amount of restoration work was done on the ground floor, so that it could be used instead for conferences and weddings. The furniture in the building is not from the pre-1914 Highbury Hall, but is instead antique furniture of late Victorian style. One room on the ground floor, was set aside by the Chamberlain family, to be used as a museum room – the Chamberlain Library room. Unfortunately, due to repeated break-ins, most of the books and furniture are now kept in storage away from Highbury Hall. 

Also on the ground floor of Highbury Hall are the Council’s Civic Catering kitchens. Any food served by the Council – including the food sold in the Edwardian Tea Rooms in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery – is prepared at Highbury Hall.
Next to Highbury Hall, Chamberlain House was built in 1940. It was built on the foot print of the glass house that Joseph Chamberlain grew his orchids. Chamberlain House was built as and used as a military hospital. At some point after 1945, it was then used as offices. 

The gardens of Highbury Hall were ornate, containing an Italian Garden, Dutch Garden, Elizabethan Garden, Rockery, Sundail platform, Viewing Platform. These were very much intact up until the 1980s, when they were allowed to fall into disrepair and become overgrown.

Highbury Trust and the Charity Commission 

Since the late 1990s, the Charity Commission has been complaining to Birmingham City Council that they are not happy with the way Highbury Trust has being managed. From the Charity Commission’s viewpoint, they felt that the Highbury Trust was being used simply as Council buildings – for use as Council offices or functions – and not enough charitable use. This is not to say that commercial activities could not happen within the trust, BUT the money generated by that commercial activity had to remain with the Highbury Trust accounts and be spent on charitable uses. So for example, Civic Catering should really pay rent for using part of the ground floor of Highbury Hall and this money should be retained within the trust. 

This is where we come to the well repeated argument that the Council owes Highbury Trust millions of pounds for past rent in using both Highbury Hall and Chamberlain House as Council offices. The counter-argument to this is that Highbury Trust owes the Council millions of pounds for the 1985 restoration work on Highbury Hall and the annual maintenance of its grounds in Highbury Park. To overcome this argument, the Charity Commission have agreed to cancel any past debts owed between the Council and the Highbury Trust. We are now starting from no one owing anyone anything.

Highbury Trust and the Highbury Coalition 

The Highbury Coalition is a group of local residents who want to take over the entire running of Highbury Trust. The Council would become either a minority stakeholder in the trust or be none existent. The argument put forward by the Highbury Coalition is that the Council have run the Highbury Trust very poorly in the past and therefore they would do a better job. This is the basis of the argument of the Highbury Trust becoming fully independent and which the Council is now proposing.

Why I don’t want Highbury Trust to become fully independent

I will now put forward my argument for why Highbury Trust should NOT become fully independent. I don’t have a problem with it becoming semi-independent, where the Council set the parameters for the day-to-day management of the trust, or a specific project role, which is done by another Trust......but I want the Council to remain the overall guardian of the trust.

An independent Trust would not be as democratic as the Council maintaining it 

If Highbury Trust becomes fully independent, as is being proposed by the Council’s Charities and Trust Committee and supported by the Highbury Coalition, the Council will lose all say over the future direction of Highbury Hall and its estate. At the moment, the residents indirectly have a say in the running of Highbury Hall and its grounds through the local elections and local Councillors.

An independent Trust could sell off parts of the Highbury Trust 

Once Highbury Trust becomes fully independent, the residents of Birmingham will lose any say in whether or not parts of the estate are sold off. Remember that in 2004, the Council wanted to sell off Chamberlain House, the three lodges and the land that Four Seasons horticultural project occupy. The Charity Commission fully supported this proposal, since the receipts from the sale would go towards the repair of Highbury Hall. It was only after an outcry by local residents, which was supported by local Councillors, that the Council dropped these plans – that’s democracy in action. In complete contrast the Highbury Coalition have repeated tried to stop the Council explaining it plans for Highbury Trust. When I was the local Councillor I would be repeatedly asked to by a local residents group to attend a public meeting to explain what was happening with the Highbury Trust; days before the meeting, I would then be informed by the organisers that someone from the Highbury Coalition had contacted them requesting that I should not be allowed to speak, unless the Highbury Coalition were there to put an alternative argument to anything I said. This reached its nadir, earlier this year at the AGM of the Friends of Highbury Park, (a member of the Highbury Coalition), when the Chair banned me from even speaking at their meeting about the investment the Council were putting into Highbury Park and the Trust lands. 

I don’t want the future of Highbury Hall and estate to be put into the hands of individuals who try to stop local residents, and their democratically elected representatives, from openly disagreeing with them.

An independent Trust could close off parts of Highbury Park 

All the area around the main pond in Highbury Park is Highbury Trust land. If Highbury Trust becomes fully independent, you will lose any say as to whether or not parts of the Trust are fenced off. The paths would have to be maintained as established rights of way, but anything other than that could be fenced off. This could happen if the Trust struggled financially and could not maintain the grass areas. An insurance company would refuse to provide public liability cover, which in turn would force the independent Trust to fence off large sections of open space.

An independent Trust would not guarantee protection of the Heritage of the Highbury Trust

The objectives of the Highbury Trust is that it has to “used for the benefit of the citizens of Birmingham”. Protection of its heritage is not an objective of the Highbury Trust, this is why Highbury Hall was used as an elderly peoples home until 1985. The reason so much of it has been preserved, is due to the public putting pressure on the Council to do so. Once Highbury Trust becomes fully independent there is nothing to stop the buildings falling into disrepair and one by one being demolished. If you don’t believe me, then look at what happened to another historic building in Moseley that was maintained by an independent trust – Centre 13 on School Road. Centre 13 occupied one of the oldest buildings in Moseley: the original St Marys Church of England School building. It was built in 1828 when all around it was just fields. It was one of the first free schools in Birmingham built specifically to educate the poor. 

In 2005, the charitable trust that ran Centre 13 announced that they were going to demolish the historic building, since they found it increasingly expanse to run. I led a public outcry against this proposed demolition. The Trust ignored this outcry and flattened the site. This could happen again, if Highbury Trust becomes fully independent.


An independent Trust would not guarantee that the Highbury Trust would be financially sustainable 

Charitable Trusts can be successful, but equally they can be utter failures. For every successful trust in Birmingham, I can point to trusts that have collapsed due to incompetence, corruption or lack of direction. It is very easy for Directors of Trusts to fall out and bullying personalities or groups to take over – as Cabinet member for Leisure, Sport and Culture I was called into to help at several trusts were the Directors were fighting amongst themselves. The same could happen at Highbury Trust and the danger is that in any collapse, parts of the estate would be sold off, demolished or left empty and burnt down by vandals. Highbury Trust is too important from a heritage viewpoint to allow this to happen. 

Why it is safer for Highbury Trust to become a semi-independent Trust

I would be far happier for Highbury Trust to become semi-independent of the Council, similar to the Museums Trust. The Council would remain the final Trustee of Highbury Trust, but would employ another Trust to look after the restoration and day-to-day management of the estate. The Council would set an overall strategy for the trust – ie it must restore the heritage of the estate, nothing sold off, charity use and financially sustainable. There would need to be break clauses, so that if the trust employed failed to reach set milestones, then the Council would take over control of the Trust again. I would also like the Council to go to the market place and see what other Trusts would be interested in running the estate. There are lots of Conservation Trusts across Britain that are experienced in restoring and running historic estates like Highbury Hall Gardens – Birmingham Conservation Trust? The National Trust? It would be wrong to simply hand over Highbury Trust to the Highbury Coalition, without seeing what other Trusts are out there.