Family Run Business Could Face Eviction After 17 Years

A family run business in Kings Heath faces eviction after Birmingham City Council awarded the building tender to a corporate catering company.

The Victorian Tea Room in Kings Heath Park has been run by Michelle Kelly for 17 years but was ordered to leave the historic building on Sunday 6th of January after receiving a one line email that the Tea Room tender had been awarded to a bigger company.

Refreshment Room - Photo Credit Ken Pugh
Refreshment Room – Photo Credit Ken Pugh

There has been a Tea Room in Kings Heath Park from as early as 1912. On the 25th March in 1912, local couple Mr & Mrs. Blake had been granted the tenancy of the refreshment room for a period of twelve months. Refreshments had been provided in the park earlier in 1910, but that was only seasonally and on a stall provided by Mrs. Blunt

Michelle has been in charge of the tea room since 1997 when she was given a three month contract by Birmingham City Council, which had been extended up until now. But instead of leaving the the Tea Room Michelle has vowed to continue running the tea room until she is satisfied Birmingham City Council have investigated her complaint about the tendering process.

Kings Heath Park is centered on a Victorian building where the Tea Room is located. The building was built in 1832 for newly elected MP William Russell but was later sold in 1880 to a wealthy industrialist John Cartland. In 1902 the Cartland Family formed Priory Trust Co Ltd which intended on developing the land for a housing development. Luckily the plans folded and the land was later sold to Kings Norton and Northfield Urban District Council which opened the grounds to the public. The Kings Norton and Northfield Urban District Council later merged with other Councils to form Birmingham City Council.

Birmingham Gardeners Weekend
Birmingham Gardeners Weekend – Photo Credit Kings Heath Centre Partnership

Nowadays the Park is a iconic landmark for Kings Heath and surrounding areas with many major events held at the park each year, such as the Birmingham Gardeners Weekend which has been held at the park for 29 years and attracts over 12,000 visitors each year during the two day event.

An online petition has been set up by Walk 2000 a local walking group which visit the Tea Room every Monday and Michelle has also written to the councils chief executive Stephen Hughes.

The online petition can be found by visiting: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/savethetearoom.html

A Facebook page and Twitter account have also been set up links to which can be found below.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SaveTheTeaRoom

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaveTheTeaRoom

Save The Tea Room Twitter Feed

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