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What Lead to the Closure and Sale of the Cottage of Content Community Centre?

one of the cottage social centre collective | 19.07.2006 00:11 | Free Spaces | Birmingham

The boarded up buildings of what was a Community Youth Centre in Sparkbrook have been occupied by a group of activists who along with local people are putting it back into use as a Social Centre, called 'The Cottage Occupied Social Centre'.

They believe their occupation and outreach will compel the Council to return the property to community use. The buildings, however are scheduled to be auctioned off, by Bond and Wolfe today, Wednesday 19th July.

forfeiture of tenancy notice
forfeiture of tenancy notice


Local people involved in the social centre collective are trying to piece together why this valuable community resource was closed without consultation with local people. They are also asking how Birmingham City Council's Property Services, a private company contracted by the City Council, are allowed to auction off the building, for commercial use with ‘development potential’ starting at £170,000.

How can a company motivated by profit be allowed to sell off, without even consulting us, our community resources, and if the building is to be demolished like in many of these cases to make way for a new so-called 'development', what gives Birmingham City Council's Property Services the right to destroy what's left of our municipal heritage?

The buildings had been closed and boarded up in April 2005, allegedly because of the former tenant’s failure to pay the rent and bills. Above are two photos of notices that were attached to the inside windows of the Cottage of Content Community and Youth Centre whilst it was left to rot for over a year by Birmingham City Centre.

Local people who were involved with the Community and Youth Centre claim that the council stopped the funding for play workers, and the Youth Centre lost all subsidies 22 years ago.

The letter is signed by a Mr. Peter Jones, Assistant Director Development Directorate.

one of the cottage social centre collective
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Ask Peter Jones

19.07.2006 10:18

Here's the e-mail address for Peter Jones, who is responsible for the sell-off:

Ask him why the council wants to sell off the building instead of it being used by the people...