Skip navigation

Indymedia UK is a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues

Report Released on Cottage of Content Future

Jack Writer | 14.10.2007 19:07 | Analysis | Free Spaces | Birmingham

Birmingham city council have released a report detailing the possibility of the neglected social building known as the Cottage of Content being renovated to serve the local community.

The report, the first piece of positive action by the council regarding the property for just over two years was made available in August 2007 following pressure from the local community as well as activists against its planned auction and sale.

The report, titled “Cottage of Content: Community and Social Enterprise Centre Development” states: “A social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners”.

The four-page document gives a brief overview of the history of the building, explaining the council’s decision to auction the site to the highest bidder. However the report continues: “Following local representation, this action was stopped, and currently there is interest in regenerating the buildings into a new facility that provides much needed support to both new and existing communities to organize themselves, and form self-support structures which can provide support to meet their identified needs.”

Negotiations are apparently going on between Birmingham city council and the Joseph Chamberlain College in order to secure agreement to establish a “Community Leadership Centre of Excellence” within the Cottages’ walls. It is estimated that delivery costs for this project with the College would amount to £350,000 for one year. Efforts are also being made to secure funding from Advantage West Midlands.

The council have put forward a seven-point plan of action, due to start in early September 2007, however as it stands not a lot of progress can be seen by the discerning eye. The report states that there is a 3-month period in which the council have to develop a business plan for the Cottage of Contents’ potential use. Once this three-month period elapses and no business plan has been approved and implemented the building which has too often been abandoned may once again be declared surplus.

A copy of the report can be found on the website below.

Jack Writer.

Jack Writer
- e-mail:
- Homepage: