A civil courtroom action over £1.7 million allegedly missing from the funds of Nechells Baths is to begin next week – days after the arrest of Birmingham churchman David Collyer.
The case – Midlands Regen v Collyer – is listed to start on September 3 in the High Court Chancery Division in Birmingham and is expected to last for several days.
The civil case comes less than two weeks after Canon Collyer, a former treasurer of Birmingham Cathedral, was arrested at his home in Birmingham.
A spokeswoman for Birmingham High Court said: “I can confirm that the hearing is listed before Judge Purle from September 3.”
It is understood that prominent Midland businessmen Tim Watts and David Bucknall will be among witnesses giving evidence, as well as David Collyer.
Canon Collyer was held at his home by officers investigating the alleged disappearance of £1.7 million from a project to restore Nechells Baths. He was detained on suspicion of fraud by abuse of position and later released on bail pending further inquiries.
The police investigation followed a long-running dispute between Mr Collyer and Mr Watts and Mr Bucknall. Mr Collyer had been appointed chair of an organisation called Midlands Regen, which was established specifically for the Nechells Baths project.
It sat within an umbrella charity called Birmingham Foundation, of which Mr Watts and Mr Bucknall were in charge.
A statement issued last year by the Nechells Regeneration Group, which managed the four-year, £5 million baths restoration project, said: “Nechells Regeneration Project has asked West Midlands Police to look into the disappearance of approximately £1.7 million in funds during the period when operating company Midlands Regen was chaired by Canon David Collyer.
“Collyer has repeatedly been asked to provide a schedule of payments and explanation for the discrepancy. He has failed to do so. Nechells Regeneration Project has acted following discussions with the Charity Commission and to ensure the maintenance of its charitable status.
“All evidence in the possession of Nechells Regeneration Project has been handed to West Midlands Police.”
The Nechells Baths scheme transformed the dilapidated Victorian structure into a state of the art centre of communal activity providing training, creche and offices for social enterprises.
Nechells Baths, in Nechells Park Road, Nechells, was part of a Birmingham-wide network of public baths and washhouses when it opened in 1910.
But the Grade Two-listed building fell into disrepair and was closed in 1995 because it failed to compete with the city’s more modern, energy-efficient lesiure centres. It was later restored to its former glory and celebrated its 100th anniversary two years ago.
A statement was issued by Det Sgt Jonathan Jones, of West Midlands Police last week, which said: “On Wednesday August 22, detectives from the force’s Economic Crime Unit arrested a 74-year-old man from his home in Bournville on suspicion of fraud by abuse of position. The man has since been released on police bail pending further inquiries.”
Mr Collyer could not be contacted for comment.