CONCERNS are growing for the future of Halesowen Abbey as development work on the site draws closer.

The Halesowen Abbey Trust have drawn up a 10 page dossier laying out fears imminent mistakes could be made which would rob future generations of vital historical artefacts.

The Trust are trying to halt a slide in fortunes for the 800-year-old site which they believe has already been ‘seriously and irreparably devalued’.

Last year Dudley Council gave planning permission for six barn conversions on the site and campaigners are worried the impending construction will lead to unauthorised work on the delicate site.

Halesowen MP James Morris, who previously raised the matter in Parliament, and representatives of the Trust have met English Heritage to demand the site is protected.

James Morris said: “Protecting our local heritage for future generations in Halesowen and Rowley Regis is very important. Halesowen Abbey, founded in 1215, is a big part of local history and I will continue to pressurise English Heritage to ensure that it is preserved.

“I sought categorical assurances that English Heritage would do all in their power to protect the Abbey and preserve it for future generations.”

In the dossier Mick Freer, honorary secretary, Halesowen Abbey Trust complains about the detrimental effect of previous unauthorised work.

He said: “There is a picture of neglect and damage incompatible with the monument’s designation and justifiable public expectations.

“That breakdown of confidence should be a matter of considerable concern to those who hold responsibility.

“The site, whilst retaining its designation as a ‘Monument of National Importance’, has been seriously and irreparably devalued both materially and in public perception.”

Mr Freer added: “It is important at this stage to get matters right.

“We must ensure that the benefit of this site remains with the public and we appreciate the efforts of James Morris to help the Trust with these efforts”.

English Heritage were unavailable for comment as the News went to press.