Claims historic Council House in Birmingham to be sold off to pay debts

Reports claim that Birmingham’s historic council house could be turned into a hotel to pay off debts.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Claims have been made that Birmingham’s historic council house could be sold off to pay off the local authority’s debts.

They were reported in a national newspaper over the weekend as Birmingham City Council faces a financial black hole of more than £760 million.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Victorian council house is among a string of landmark assets owned by the council, including the Library of Birmingham, Alexander Stadium and a 7% stake in Birmingham Airport. However, Mayor Andy Street, has previously spoken out against claims that key cultural assets will be sold to balance the books.

The council also owns about 10,520 hectares (26,000) acres of land across the city, with its property portfolio valued at £2.4bn. It also has the largest council housing stock in the country with about 59,000 social housing properties - there has been no indication of council housing being on the list of assets for sale, but there are concerns housing could be sold and outsourced to housing associations.

Construction of Birmingham’s historic Council House began in 1874 when the first stone was laid by city mayor Joseph Chamberlain, one of the great statesmen of the Victorian era. The magnificent building, which includes an ornate banqueting suite, faces on to Birmingham’s Victoria Square alongside a statue of Queen Victoria and a sculpture showing a woman in a fountain, known locally as the Floozie in the Jacuzzi.

The Daily Express quoted a Conservative source who told the newspaper that the council house is in a prime location and “looks fantastic” saying it could “easily be sold off to a hotel chain”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The council previously sold the NEC Group, which includes the National Exhibition Centre, for £307 million in 2015 in an earlier attempt to pay off its debts. The new owners went on to sell it for £800 million just three years later.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.