One of Birmingham's most iconic and historic buildings is riddled with asbestos which needs to be removed before it can be redeveloped, it has been revealed.
Birmingham Municipal Bank dates back to the 1930s and has been described as a 'symbol of strong municipal self sufficiency' which has defined the city.
Now the University of Birmingham wants to refurbish the Grade II listed building utilising it for a cafe, gallery, seminar rooms and research spaces.
But they have first had to file a planning application with the city council for internal works, which stated it has 'extensive asbestos' which needs to be removed to make it safe for redevelopment.
Walls and ceilings declared unfit for purpose will need to be ripped out although original flooring will be kept where it is possible.
The former bank was designed by reputable Midlands architect T. Cecil Howitt of Nottingham and was part of a wider masterplan for Centenary Square which saw homes, factories and canal wharfs removed in the area to make way for a purpose-built open public space.
The application comes at a time when the square is once more being reinvigorated and redeveloped to transform it into one of the city's main thoroughfares.
Describing the former bank's importance a planning document, submitted by London-based Make Architects, said: "The former Municipal Bank building on Broad Street has high significance for its history, architecture and community values.
"Its historical and communal value relates principally to its interest as the headquarters of a unique banking institution, founded at the suggestion of Neville Chamberlain in 1916, in which investors’ deposits were managed by the city council.
"By 1950 there were 66 branches across Birmingham.
"The bank ceased to be a department of the local authority in 1976 and was privatised in 1995, the HQ closing in 1998.
"The bank is fondly remembered in Birmingham as a symbol of the strong municipal self-sufficiency that has defined the city historically."