In his statement to a Gazette representative yesterday, concerning the breakdown in the negotiations with the University authorities, Sir Percival Bower said that so far as he was concerned he had no desire to press the issue, and he regarded the matter as closed.
“From my point of view,” Sir Percival declared, “the most regrettable feature of the whole incident is the apparent lack of desire to assist a great civic institution and also, having regard to what the city authorities have done for the University, a lack of anything in the nature of reciprocity.
“With a view to ascertaining the value of land we wanted to purchase from the University, one of the leading valuers in the city was instructed to act for the bank and in addition the opinion of two other valuers was sought.
“Subsequently we received an intimation from the University authorities that the price at which they would sell was one which every person we approached about it regarded as ridiculous, and which was in point of fact about five times as much as the top value placed upon it by one of the best-known valuers in the city.
“We then suggested that the matter should be referred to an independent arbitrator, but this offer was absolutely declined, and so the bank has been forced to give up the idea of remaining on its present head office site.
“It may be that the university authorities have in their mind the undesirability of selling a portion of their Edmund-street site, and prefer that if acquired it should be acquired as a whole.
“If the value placed upon the very small bit required by the bank is to be regarded as a criterion of that which is going to be placed on the site as a whole, it would involve an expenditure which few would be prepared to face.
“I shall certainly resist any attempt to make the city pay anything like a pro rata amount for the whole site.”
Regarding the suggestion made by the bank’s proposals would have affected the University’s entrance to Victoria-square. Sir Percival declared that he entirely failed to see what was meant, adding: “The piece of land we required was completely severed from Victoria-square.”
Birmingham Gazette – April 3rd 1930
The Birmingham Municipal Bank has been forced to give up the idea of remaining on its present head office site.
This statement was made to the Birmingham Gazette yesterday by Alderman Sir Percival Bower, chairman of the Bank Committee, in giving further details of the failure of the negotiations with the Birmingham University authorities for the purchase of a piece of land belonging to the University for extension of the Municipal Bank in Edmund-street.
Sir Percival, it will be remembered, announced at Tuesday’s meeting of the City Council that the negotiations had broken down and, referring to the price demanded, accused the University authorities of a lack of reciprocity in their relations with the City Council.
The latest development is that, consequent on the failure of the attempt to buy the land belonging to the University, plans are now being considered for the erection of entirely new headquarters in the Civic Centre area, adjoining the Masonic Temple.
The bank is in urgent need of more commodious premises, and the Gazette understands that a scheme for the erection of a new building has already been favourably considered by a responsible sub-committee.