Fellowship Hall to be sold at auction without conditions on development

At today’s (Monday September 22) Sutton Coldfield District Committee meeting a motion to sell Fellowship Hall by auction and without conditions attached was passed by a majority of those present.

All of the Conservative councillors voted in favour with Councillor Rob Pocock voting against.

fellowship hall sutton coldfield

This was despite the comment by Councillor Anne Underwood at the previous District meeting… “that every effort would continue to be made to find someone willing to ensure the Hall would remain for community use.”

A point that Councillor Pocock made before being quickly shot down by the committee chair, Councillor Anne Underwood.

Of course any such restriction would no doubt strongly affect the value of the property and it is clear that the district are keen to sell to the highest bidder, regardless of the developer’s intention.

It is also true that the level of savings to be made by Sutton Coldfield is both unrealistic and unfair as it bares the brunt of the council cuts but there are times when councillors need to stand up for those they represent and not take every opportunity to score party political points.

Fellowship Hall was donated to the people of Sutton Coldfield, particularly those who are elderly or disabled, by town benefactor C.S. Wilkinson in 1960 and a petition was raised by his grandson on the announcement of it’s closure arguing that the council should… “keep the hall open for the charitable and community purposes for which it was freely donated”

It is no secret that Fellowship Hall has been running at a loss, although whether or not this is down to poor management is unclear, and that to sell it makes economic sense at this difficult time but to do so with no regard for the provision of some kind of community facility is, at best, a little cynical.

The auction of Fellowship Hall will take place on October 23.

7 Responses

  1. Richard says:

    Even worse the ‘District Budget Savings Information Update 2014/15’, under which the sale was discussed has no supporting paper and is described on the agenda as a verbal ‘information update’ with no indication that two votes on disposals were to be taken. The other vote was the sale of part of the Town Hall consequent upon the council house development.

  2. John says:

    No chance that a charity such as ours would win this at auction. What a real loss to the community…..shame on you who voted for this.

  3. Rob Pocock says:

    I was gutted at this outrageous betrayal of the principle which I thought the whole committee had agreed at the last meeting on 23rd May. What’s more, even if the site is sold at full development value, we on the Sutton District Committee were given no assurance that money would even come back to Sutton Coldfield. We have sold a community birthright for 30 pieces of slve and don’t even know if we’ll be receiving the silver, or whether it will just be swallowed up in central coffers. Utter disgrace.

  4. Cllr David Barrie says:

    I’ve seen some cynical comments in my time, but the last takes the biscuit. To vote in full council for a 62.5% cut in our District budget and then to complain about the enforced consequences should win a prize for Cllr Pocock. Moreover we did commit to make every effort to get community groups to come forward and bid, offering any advice we could. He has had many months to come forward with an alternative plan or try and gain additional funding from his Labour group and failed totally. Address complaints to Sir Albert Bore please.

  5. Michael says:

    Don’t worry everyone, I’m sure it will be knocked down and be replaced by some residential home for the elderly.

  6. I read with interest the comments above.

    This is indeed a loss to the community of Sutton Coldfield and you can thank the Conservatives and Labour for selling it off. Vote for yoU- Vote UKIP!

    UKIP is opposed to the sale of Sutton Coldfield’s silver!
    UKIP is opposed to building on the Green Belt.
    UKIP is opposed to HS2.
    UKIP is in favour of a town council.

    National policy. Local policy. Common sense policy!

    Vote for YoU – Vote UKIP!

  7. Cllr David Barrie says:

    Additional funding would be more helpful.