Posted on December 18, 2008. Filed under: Housing News |

Residents living close to the Firebird Social Centre in Bellevue, Edgbaston have received a lettter from the council saying that the owner of the building will be demolishing it starting on 8th January 2009.

Before cleanup work started.

Before cleanup work started.

This is a ” First Stage” victory for JNC there is some way to go…

According to our council sources the owner doesn’t need planning permission but does need to comply with various laws governing demolition.

While JUSTICE NOT CRISIS will be glad to see this dilapidated building go we are concerned that the land will be left empty for another 5 years, the time that it has been since the former pub closed to customers.

We welcome the chance to see new homes for social rent on the site but want to see an agreement in place between the owner and a possible developer before we vacate the building. 

 We also want to see a community Centre incorporated in the agreement for local residents, and particularly the youth in in an attempt to take “bored” youths off the streets and thus reduce the anti sociable behaviour that SOME of the youths are responsible for.

The weeds and rubbish go as the cleanup gets underway!

The weeds and rubbish go as the cleanup gets underway!

As with our decision to leave the Council Land at our previous squats we DO NOT wish to put the owner through the cost of a Court eviction or bailiffs please contact us and we are happy to discuss your plans and requirements for us to leave.



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So you are going to impede the legal owner in disposing of their property are you? Figures.

” please contact us and we are happy to discuss your plans and requirements for us to leave”

Behave yourselves you bloody fools. You are the laughing stock of Birmingham.

We are not impeding the owner of disposing of the property. This site has been in this state for 5 years. Children have gone in when it has been insecure and dangerous, local youths have set fire to it on numerpous occasions. Three weeks after we have squatted it the owner now wants to demolish it. We are pleased to hear it, its a mess on an otherwise refurbished estate. We do not however want to see it lay as an empty piece of land for years, as the Council have done with many sites. ( We have an update on this matter – watch for breaking news in the New Year!) At the moment the pub is being used by the community, when we are assured that there is a development agreement in place to build socially rented houses and a community facility, we are happy to leave and spare the owner a Court trip, AND COSTS. We have been bitten before and therfore will not leave voluntarily unless we see an agreement to build. Your talking about the same owner who was offered £500.00 per week to rent the car park to Opal(Who built the student accomodation) and The Police who wanted to use the car park for their vehicles. The owner wanted £2,000 per week the carpark re-tarmaced fenced and floodlit !! Needless to say the Police and contractors building, turned him down and parked all over the place and caused chaos for 18 months to local residents.

There is no fun sleeping in a cold damp building, (Unless of cause you have nowhere else to go) but we are prepared to in the interests of local residents, the homeless and people on waiting lists for a property (30,000 of them remember). If that makes us a laughing stock then so be it.

“The story of the squatters who caused a fire at the derelict Firebird pub in Balsall Heath illustrates how futile this exercise is.

About eight people had to leave their squat off Pershore Road when a fire was lit in an old hearth. The squatters hadn’t realised the chimney was blocked.

Firefighters were on the scene for 90 minutes and, when the smoke was cleared, the squatters returned.

They’re apparently part of a campaign, called Justice Not Crisis, protesting at the lack of council housing in our area.

They’re being ignored. Protest squatters are old fashioned, the stuff of the 60s.

But I wonder how they’re financing themselves. I trust they are not on Jobseekers Allowance or drawing other benefits while they irritate us.

If you are thinking of taking them round mince pies and a bottle of whisky, count me out. They’re malcontents out for a lark.”

Not my words, but those of the respected veteran Birmingham Mail columnist, Maureen Messant.

I have to say I agree with her entirely. Nobody doubts that you have a right to protest but your methods, abusing the Cabinet Member for Housing, disrupting the city’s democratic proceedings, and putting community safety at risk, have left you with no support amongst the moderate mainstream in this city. Those Labour councillors who lent you their support, Leddy, Ward (Anita), Kane, Grundy, and Hopkins, have shown an embarrassing lack of judgement, and a complete lack of understanding about social housing.

Coun Sir Albert Bore too demonstrated how little control he had over his own group by failing to pull these and other Labour councillors into line. I am sure he regrets not doing something sooner.

Now, cut and paste, my and Ms Messant’s words on to the Stirrer message board.

Happy Christmas.

Ms Messent, thank you for your badly informed article in today’s Evening Mail which, our mate George (Whoever he is) kindly repoduces in his comment, can’t even make your own comments now George ? We are obviously being ignored if Maureen finds column inches in her rag for us, we get close to 600 hits a day on our website and the vast majority of people who comment support us. Obviously we live in the real world, unfortunately Maureen and George do not. They believe that the Council are selling land for socially rented houses to be built, they believe there are no homeless people on the streets of Birmingham, they believe that Birmingham City Council has the support of RSL’S in Birmingham, they believe that there are not 30,000 people on our waiting lists and finally they must believe that everyone in Birmingham is adequately housed. We also then assume they believe that the Government are helping Birmingham to build homes.

We are financing ourselves from many supporters who bring food and items to our squat, by volunteers donating their own money for the needs of the homeless and the cause. Yes some of our numbers are on benefits. We also have amongst others Doctors, a Magistrate, a Police Officer and other professionals who have come down to show support and donate.

We are being ignored so much that the owner has now decided he wants to demolish the place (5 years late but a start) Housing and the lack of affordable homes is a regular topic of the Housing scrutiny committee, questions have been asked in the house of Commons and Councillors and MP’s are now talking to us.

How does that show the excersise to be futile ? If our campaign sees socially rented or Council Homes built in Birmingham we don’t see that as futile, we see it as a major step forward in the Housing Crisis in Birmingham. Every homeless person living in our squat is off the street, fed a hot meal,warmer than they would be on the streets not to mention safer.

The fire was caused by banking the hearth too high not a blocked chimney. George Calthorpe’s only attack is now getting boring, he spends more time going on about minor issues whilst ignoring the real issue.

Finally Maureen we respect your right to your opinion, on this occassion some of your info is wrong, you are welcome to come down and see for yourself what is going on and we are more than happy for you to leave your mince pies at home you can try one of ours!

Happy Christmas

Its wrong just to knock the place down without plans for the land. we don’t want to see a piece of empty concrete for years. Why can’t it be used untill there are such plans then knock it down and get on with the new houses and residents centre.

You can’t let this be demolished until you have got an assurance that the place will be built on people need the homes. This land has been unused for years.

I see you’ve responded to Maureen Messant’s “truth hurts” article in last week’s Mail.

Would you care to name the magistrate and police officer who are allegedly supporters of your illegal occupation of first, council land, and now a property waiting for demolition.

Perhaps they themselves would like to come forward and publicly support and endorse your aims and methods.

I am sure the Chairman of the Birmingham bench and the Chief Constable of the West Midlands would like to know the identities of these individuals too.

You’ll be telling me next that you have the support of the local tree surgeon 😉

Let’s hope 2009 heralds a clean-up of the Benmore Estate.

P.S Don’t forget to cut and paste onto the Stirrer.

Pick your fights more carefully next time. You’re impeding your own goal of increasing the levels of social housing. Read this and respond through that forum if you fancy:

Dave L, We repeat our comments of earlier regarding the owner of the Firebird. Nothing has been done with this site for 5 years, we start squatting it and suddenly he wants to sell and demolish it – job nearly done !! If you know him then you will know he refused to allow the car park to be used by constructors vehicles when Opal one was built, despite an offer of £500 per week rent. Now you mention it ( It was to be stop pressed in JANUARY) We are aware of the current negotiations with a ” Local RSL” for the purchase of the land, this will not be decided until 20th Jan 2008 at a Board meeting to discuss same. It is never our intention to delay the progress of building social housing and as soon as the sale is agreed and development agreement is in place for social housing/community facility we will gladly leave the site voluntarily, no legal costs no court fees, and no bailffs will be necessary. We do keep our ear to the ground and are fully aware of what is going on, we research our “targets” well in advance. We do thankyou for recognising the cause as worthwhile and accept that you may not of been aware of the full story prior to your comments.

Tell me chaps, is THIS your idea of justice?

I bet you’re trawling the streets of Edgbaston looking for a similar set-up?

No George, our next site has been picked for the last 5 weeks, and as soon as this battle is won we will move on !!! Interesting to read yesterdays news that Birmingham has the second largest homeless figure, behind only London, in the Country. This is EXACTLY WHat we have been saying for 12 weeks, if you can’t comment on the issues then we will still moderate your comments but won’t waste our time with a response. Yet again another childish comment, George, which has no bearing on the issues Homelessness, Lack of affordable housing, waiting lists of 30,000 etc etc….

Dave L Totally agree.

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