REDEVELOPMENT: Council house to be renamed ‘England House’
Birmingham council house will be renamed ‘England House’ ahead of the Commonwealth Games – following its planned £32 million redevelopment.
Agreed by the city council’s cabinet, works are to begin this month on the £32.5 million ‘futureproofing’ of the historic building, work which council leaders have described as ‘essential’.
The work is needed because the current electrical installation in the council house – used by the city council as well as partly by Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) – cannot be safely maintained.
The project would also include decorative refurbishment to civic spaces used for ceremonies, receptions and private events, with £29.6 million of the funding expected to be met by borrowing.
And the council is now looking to set up a steering committee to help determine the direction of the refurbishments.
“The city council has recently committed to refurbish the council house and
museum to ensure the electrical systems are fit for purpose and to redecorate key areas as we become ‘England House’ in readiness for the Commonwealth Games in August 2022,” papers from next week’s meeting state.
“The council house complex provides the city council with an opportunity to create a truly accessible public building that is an iconic landmark as part of the city’s cultural, visitor and civic ambitions.
“In this ambition, it goes beyond its function as the embodiment of the city’s democratic functions, and a base for the Commonwealth Games in 2022, but becomes a truly inspirational part of the city’s heritage as part of a vibrant forward-thinking international city.
“The purpose of the committee is to provide strategic direction for the development of the council house complex beyond operational matters e.g. current refurbishment, and to challenge the status quo, inject ambition and drive into the future of the council house complex while remaining sensitive to its listed building status and its wider setting.”
The new committee will be a cross-party initiative, and ‘will cover the strategic oversight to the project, shaping and acting as a key advisor on the strategic direction of the project.’
The papers are due to be discussed next week.
Words: Tom Dare, Local Democracy Reporter
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