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Rookery House for sale as council pursues assets disposal

Rookery House for sale as council pursues assets disposal

🕔25.Feb 2013

A vacant listed Georgian former mansion house is to be sold by Birmingham City Council as the local authority responds to Government orders to raise money by disposing of assets.

Rookery House, built in 1725, has been empty since 2008 and was once Erdington Council House.

Conservationists concerned about the building’s poor condition must wait and see whether their wish that the property be preserved for use by local people will be realised.

Approval to sell Rookery House and adjoining land with a price tag of up to £10 million will be rubber-stamped at the next city council cabinet meeting.

A report makes it clear that the purchaser will be expected to renovate the building and re-open it for community use: “As part of any future sale the council will seek to secure a leaseback arrangement at nil premium of an agreed space in Rookery House.

“It is intended that this space will then be leased on to a suitable community organisation, with no long term running costs falling upon the council.”

However, the document warns that the buoyancy of the property market remains an element of risk and there are no guarantees of “sustained interest” in the building.

The Rookery House Conservation Trust, which has been campaigning to turn the mansion into a community centre for five years, submitted a business plan to the council in 2008 setting out how the building could be transformed to offer meeting rooms, a café, and space for start-up businesses.

The council will save £115,000 a year in running costs if it can dispose of Rookery House, as well as pocketing a sizeable capital sum for the sale.

Council leader Sir Albert Bore told a scrutiny committee last week that there would be “no fire sale” of assets as the local authority scrabbles to meet a £750 million equal pay bill.

However, he is likely to push forward with property disposals where buildings, like Rookery House, are declared surplus to council requirements.

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