A landmark building must not be allowed to be turned in to yet another Broad Street pub, club or restaurant.
A special covenant should be used to ensure the former Birmingham Municipal Bank should be used as a cultural facility, councillors have said.
The call came as the city’s Labour Cabinet agreed a proposal to offer the historic Broad Street building on a long lease with the suggestion that it would make an excellent cultural facility.
But Conservative councillors have pushed council bosses to go a stage further and make suitable cultural use a condition of any lease.
Conservative group leader Mike Whitby said they had let a similar opportunity slip when letting the lease for nearby Baskerville House go more than a decade ago.
He said: “We let the building on a very long lease with 100 parking spaces. There was supposed to be a hotel, but that did not come through.”
He said that although the office development, which eventually came through, is very good, the delays and lease arrangements presented problems when the council began negotiating over the Library of Birmingham development.
Coun Whitby was also city leader in 2006 when the council bought the Municipal Bank in a bid to kickstart the still-awaited Arena Central development off Broad Street.
He said that the council should be able to secure a suitable tenant. “It should be possible to caveat our desires for the building.”
Tory Deputy leader Robert Alden (Erdington) added: “It is a beautiful building, with great architectural features. If we don’t get it right, and guarantee it remains a public building, this will be a huge loss to the city.”
Despite the prompt, the council leadership stuck to the line that it would make an excellent cultural facility, either a concert or performance hall, a museum or similar, but would not agree to make it a condition of lease.
Deputy leader Ian Ward (Lab, Shard End) repeated his comment of last week that as it is surrounded by the new Library, Symphony Hall and Town Hall a cultural use would indeed be appropriate.
Last week popular Birmingham historian Carl Chinn suggested that the Grade II listed building would make an excellent museum of finance and banking.
He said: “Birmingham is known for its role in industry and manufacturing, but it was also pivotal in the development of finance and banking.
“The Municipal Bank, a bank for the citizens, was itself unique. Birmingham had a massive impact on banking and investment.
“It needs to be cultural use, not leisure. We do not need another nightclub or pub in there. An iconic building like this should be opened up to the public.
“Whatever goes there needs to be adventurous and imaginative.”
Since Lloyds Bank left the building about a decade ago it has only occasionally been used as a television studio or temporary exhibition hall. It will become home to the interactive orchestra exhibition Universe of Sound from May 25 to June 16.