An historic city baths has been awarded £3 million to restore it to its former glory.
Birmingham City Council has agreed to set aside the huge sum which will be used as match funding in a Heritage Lottery Fund bid for Moseley Road Baths.
The 105-year-old building, in Balsall Heath, has been closed for 15 months and was due to re-open at the end of last month following a long list of delays and setbacks.
It will now open at the start of April after lead-based paint was discovered flaking from the ceiling and falling into the pool.
The latest announcement means it is more likely that the Heritage Lottery Fund will award the £5 million they need to get the first stage of restoration going.
Martin Mullaney, cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said: “The total cost of phase one of the restoration works is £8 million.
“With the £3 million agreed by cabinet, this means we would apply for £4.99 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
“With the bid under £5 million, it will be considered by the Regional HLF Board. We have a far greater chance of a successful bid at regional level.
“If the bid was for £5 million or more, than it would be considered at the national HLF board, where you are up against the Buckingham Palaces and Stonehenges of the World.”
Coun Mullaney said he would now start the process of preparing the HLF bid, which will most likely be submitted in June.
Phase one of the restoration, which means the baths would be closed for two years, would start in 2014 – the same time as the re-opening of nearby Sparkhill pool.
Another £9 million would need to be found to start phase two of the restoration programme.
Moseley Road Baths are Grade II star listed and the oldest of only three such pools currently operating in Britain.
The baths were also on the Victorian Society’s 2009 list of the ten most endangered Victorian and Edwardian buildings in Britain.
Mike Whitby, leader of the council, had suggested that the baths could be used as a film set for period dramas similar to Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs.