Asbestos removal required at historic former Birmingham bank

A key historic building in Birmingham – a city where Trident Asbestos Solutions also has an office – has been revealed to be riddled with asbestos, which will need to be removed before intended redevelopment of the site can take place.

As reported by the BirminghamLive website, the Grade II-listed former headquarters of the Birmingham Municipal Bank was purchased by the University of Birmingham in 2016, amid plans for the landmark building to be transformed into a city-centre exhibition venue.

However, it has now become known that the university has filed a planning application with the city council for internal works to the Broad Street building, stating that the structure contains “extensive asbestos”.

Reflecting on a rich and fascinating past 

When the bank’s headquarters was constructed in the 1930s to a design by renowned Midlands architect Thomas Cecil Howitt of Nottingham, it formed part of a grander masterplan for Centenary Square that entailed the removal of homes, factories and canal wharves to free up room for a purpose-built open public space.

The area is now being reinvigorated once more, and there are hopes that the former bank building will play a major role as a cafe, gallery, seminar rooms and research spaces for the university.

Having been opened by the late brother-in-law of Prince Philip – Prince George William of Hanover – in November 1933, the building was occupied until 1998. Along the way, the bank had ceased to be a department of the local authority in 1976, and was privatised in 1995.

A planning document submitted by London-based Make Architects emphasised the bank’s importance, stating that it was “fondly remembered in Birmingham as a symbol of the strong municipal self-sufficiency that has defined the city historically.”

A vital development at a momentous time

The university has previously stated about its plans for the building: “Our aim is to reopen the much-loved banking hall and vaults to the public, with a programme of exhibitions, events and learning activities created with the community and bringing our research to life for the city’s residents and visitors.

“We are also looking to develop a series of meeting and work spaces on the upper floors to host student entrepreneurs, research groups and training courses.”

As local specialists in asbestos awareness training, air testing, management surveys and related services, here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, we are excited about the bank building’s impending new lease of life, and can’t wait to see how development proceeds over the coming years.

In the meantime, if your organisation requires the assurance of working with the most reputable experts in asbestos management and removal, you are welcome to contact us for a quote, by calling 03333 441 555.

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