SUTTON Coldfield Council House is being prepared to be sold.
The iconic building, adjacent to Sutton Coldfield Town Hall, was built as a hotel in 1889 and then sold to Sutton Corporation for s9,000 as council offices in 1901. That use has remained for over a hundred years until Birmingham City Councils latest budget cutbacks which plan to sell 47 of their back office buildings, many historic, to save running costs.
Speaking at Tuesdays Sutton Constituency meeting, Jon Phipps of Lathams Architects, revealed they were looking at two options; either converting the Council House back to a 24-bed hotel or creating town houses and apartments.
Were trying to find a use for the council house before it becomes obsolete, he said.
There are many different ways you could carve it up.
The announcement was met with caution by local Trinity councillors including Councillor Philip Parkin who said it would be a real shame if the building was converted to homes though supported change to a hotel while Councillor David Pears added concerns over parking in the area.
He also said he was unsure if flats and houses were what was needed for Sutton when many of the surrounding housing developments were still unsold.
Lathams are also proposing an extension onto the end of the landmark building, which is based in the Sutton Coldfield Conservation Area.
The new extension needs to be in keeping and sensitive to the area or something completely different, Mr Phipps added.
Elizabeth Allison, vice chair of Sutton Civic Society was furious that such dramatic plans were being brought forward before the Sutton Coldfield Conservation Area Management Plan had been drawn up.
No plans should be brought forward before this plan is in place. People of Sutton have a right to see what is being produced for its historic heart.
The council have already sold twenty back office buildings but just under thirty are currently standing vacant as they wait for buyers.
Councillors were hopeful that early planning would not see Sutton Council House follow the same fate as the now empty Grade II listed Pype Hayes Hall, built in 1620, which was home to the Bagots Family for 250 years.