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General Purposes Sub-Committee: January 9th 1922

 

The following letter from the Water Department was submitted:

 

December 14th 1921

 

Water Committee's Building in Council House.

Future Repairs, Cleaning and Watching.

 

I am instructed by the Water Committee to state that their Chairman has reported that the General Purposes Committee have had certain questions before them on a report by the City Surveyor with reference to the responsibility for the carrying out repairs to and the cleaning and watching of the offices in the Council House belonging to the Water Committee.

 

Up to the present, repairs to the offices have been undertaken by the Water Committee, whilst the cleaning and watching has been provided by the City Surveyor on the request of the Water Committee, and the cost thereof paid by that Committee.

 

The matter has been carefully considered by the Water Committee who have arrived at the conclusion that in all the circumstances, particularly having regard to the fact that repairs to the remainder of the Council House are undertaken by the City Surveyor by a staff specially engaged for the purpose, there appears to be no objection to the City Surveyor carrying out future repairs to the offices belonging to the Water Committee.

 

In this connection, the Water Committee deem it essential that, whether the request for repairs emanates from the Water Department, Salvage Department, Municipal Bank or Treasurer's Department, the City Surveyor shall only act on orders from the Water Department. The Water Committee feel it necessary to lay down this condition on the ground that they must have regard to probable extensions and alterations associated with the future administration of their Department and that no alterations shall be made to the Water Committee's property during the present tenancies which might unfit the offices for the ultimate uses of the Water Department.

 

I am to ask, therefore, that any requests for repairs to the portion of the offices occupied by the Municipal Bank, may be submitted to the Water Committee for their consideration.

 

Yours faithfully,

J H Broadley,

Secretary.

 

20        RESOLVED:- That the arrangements proposed by the Water Department be approved.

 

Report of the Bank Committee to the City Council: May 30th 1922

 

New Head Office Premises.

 

The Bank were able in October last to enter into possession of the new offices, which form part of the premises belonging to the Water Department. The advantages derived from more compact working arrangements have been appreciable, and the facilities now provided for the public are a great improvement on former years.

 

Bank Committee: June 19th 1922

 

1161 The following report of the General Purposes Sub-Committee was presented:

 

Pitman Hotel, Corporation Street.

 

Your Sub-Committee are informed that the General Purposes Committee have under consideration the question of the allocation of Offices etc at the Pitman Hotel premises, Corporation Street, and that they are desirous of ascertaining whether the Bank would require any accommodation in this building. Your Sub-Committee recommend that the General Purposes Committee be informed that in view of the arrangements arrived at with the Water Department for Head Office Accommodation, no space will be required by the Bank at the Pitman Hotel.

 

1165 RESOLVED: That the General Purposes Committee be informed that in view of the arrangements carried out with the Water Department for Head Office accommodation, no space will be required for Bank purposes at the Pitman Hotel, Corporation Street.

 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: December 11th 1922

 

222 A letter was submitted from the Water Department dated the 23rd October, on the subject of Office Accommodation, together with subsequent correspondence therein. The General Manager explained that the question had been brought forward owing to re-arrangement of Office accommodation resulting from the premises formerly occupied by the Salvage Department having been taken over by the Finance Department; but as the whole question of accommodation was occupying the attention of the General Purposes Committee of the Council, it was felt that no useful purpose would be served by attempting to obtain better security for the Bank premises and further accommodation until the decision of the General Purposes Committee as to which Departments are to remain at the Council House had been definitely arrived at.

 

 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: January 8th 1923

 

The question of the accommodation at head office was considered and it was:

 

232     RESOLVED:- That the Manager be instructed to communicate with the City Surveyor as to whether a suitable site would be available on the proposed Bull Street and Steelhouse Lane Improvement Scheme being carried out.

 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: February 12th 1923

 

With regard to future accommodation for the Head Office, the General Manager reported that he had interviewed the City Surveyor with respect to the site at the corner of Bull Street and Steelhouse Lane. It was understood that the property already owned by the Corporation would fall into their hands in two years' time, and that it was the intention to demolish the existing buildings and widen both Steelhouse Lane and Bull Street. After sufficient land had been taken for the purpose of street widening the City Surveyor was of opinion that there would be enough land left for the erection of Head Office premises for the Bank.

 

252     RESOLVED:- That the General Manager continue his negotiations with the City Surveyor with the object of a suitable site being allocated to the Bank for the purpose of erecting a Head Office as soon as the improvement scheme can be proceeded with, and that the City Surveyor be requested to prepare a plan of his proposals in the matter for submission to this Sub-Committee.

 

The General Manager pointed out that alterations were necessary in the existing accommodation at Head Office to cope with the pressure of work, particularly in regard to ensuring closer co-operation between the Cashiers and the Ledger Department. The General Manager had conferred with Mr Broadley, the Secretary of the Water Department, and it was possible that by a little alteration of the screens the desires of the General Manager might be met. The Chairman (Alderman Lovsey) had looked into the matter that morning with the General Manager and was satisfied that the alterations were necessary, and it was:

 

253    RESOLVED:- That the General Manager be instructed to endeavour to make the necessary arrangements with the Water Department.

 

254    RESOLVED:- That a suitable partition be erected in one of the window recesses opposite the counter for the use of depositors in accordance with the rough plan prepared by Mr Grey, the Water Department Engineer.

 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: March 12th1923

 

280 On Minute No 253 (proposed alterations at Head Office) the General Manager stated that he had discussed the matter with the Water Department, but they were unable to provide any more space. The General Manager pointed out the urgent necessity of altering the counter to enable the work of the House Purchase Department to be carried out more conveniently and expeditiously, and he was directed to ascertain if more suitable arrangements could be made with the existing accommodation.

 

281 On Minutes Nos 232 and 252 (Site for Head Office), the City Surveyor attended the meeting and stated that the question of affording a suitable site to the Bank for a Head Office, when the proposed widening scheme in Steelhouse Lane and Bull Street is carried out, was considered by the Public Works and Town Planning Committee, who were of opinion that the land available would not be very extensive and that the question of allocating land for Bank purposes could not be considered until the negotiations with adjoining owners were completed.

 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: April 9th 1923

 

On Minutes Nos 252 and 281 (Head Office site) the General Manager reported that further enquiries had been made from the Public Works Department regarding the site in Steelhouse Lane, but it appeared unlikely that the land in question would be available for Bank purposes.

 

307     RESOLVED:- That consideration of the matter be deferred, and that the Clerk be instructed to place the Minutes referred to in the Deferred Minute Book.

 

On Minute No 280 (Head Office Accommodation) the General Manager reported that temporary arrangements had now been made with the Water Department which would be satisfactory for the present.

 

311     RESOLVED:- That Minute No 280 be discharged.

 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: May 14th 1923

 

351 RESOLVED:- That the question of the provision of a hot water supply in the Ladies Lavatory in the Water Department be referred to Councillors Higgins and the General Manager to interview Water Department representatives with a view to making joint arrangements.

 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: June 11th 1923

 

360 The question of obtaining a suitable site for Head Office was further considered, and the City Surveyor stated that he would notify the Sub-Committee on any suitable site for the purpose being brought to his notice.

 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: July 9th 1923

 

373 On Minute No 351 the General Manager reported that the question of the water supply to the lavatory was receiving the attention of the Secretary of the Water Department.

 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: October 8th 1923

 

The following Report of the General Manager regarding accommodation at Head Office was presented:

 

Accommodation at Head Office.

 

The present accommodation, which I have often pointed out as being inadequate, is a serious handicap to quick despatch of work and efficiency, and risks are being taken which the Committee would do well to reduce by taking steps to secure other premises.

 

Since September 1922 the average weekly transactions have increased by over 300 in the Savings Bank Department alone; there is an increase of 330 mortgages, an increase of 50% in Water Accounts, and additional work in dealing with Rate collection, enquiries and interviews. The applications from depositors to deposit Securities with the Bank have very much increased, and the introduction of Home Safes last December has produced considerably more work.

 

All these increased activities are very gratifying, but they make demands upon accommodation which place the Bank to-day in a very difficult position. The Strong Room accommodation is neither adequate nor satisfactory in its layout, and the general office is much too small. The counter space is taxed beyond its reasonable capacity, and there is no room for properly dealing with House Purchase book-keeping. The limited accommodation for private interviews with Solicitors and Clients, examination of Deeds, opening of new accounts, etc, is a cause for complaint, and it is not uncommon for interviews to be conducted in vestibules or passages because no other room is available. The dignity of a Head Office cannot be upheld under these conditions, and I am certain the conditions are a hindrance to progress. They are unpleasant to depositors and enquirers, and I think we should secure more suitable accommodation as early as possible.

 

A Committee of the Council has, I understand, been set up to consider office accommodation at the Council House, but very little appears as yet to have been done. Certainly no effort has been made to provide a place for the Bank, and if this particular Committee is expected to do so I think the point should be considered as to whether or not the Head Office of the Bank should remain at the Council House. My own view has been stated on many occasions, viz that it would be an advantage to have the Head Office in a more popular thoroughfare. There is a great "passing through" traffic along Colmore Row, but that is not the case in Edmund Street, while along Colmore Row during evening hours the traffic is much reduced, and Edmund Street becomes practically a "dead" Street.

 

In considering this matter the Committee should have in mind the fact that no matter where the Head Office of the Bank is situate there will always be a large depositorship, and no matter where Branches are set up they will not affect that particular class who feel they must have their accounts at Head Office, and I do not think any practical relief would be afforded to Head Office by opening Branches in the centre of the City.

 

In view of the circumstances, as I know them, in the Water Department I do not think it would be reasonable to press for more accommodation. To do so would mean housing the Water Department elsewhere, and I hardly think we are justified in suggesting that course; further, I do not consider that these premises are the best.

 

I do not think the question of inter-departmental working should outweigh the question of convenience to the depositors. It cannot be argued that our present premises are convenient to depositors from all parts of the City. In fact it is a personal inconvenience to many depositors to come to the Council House, whereas if the Head Office was situate in the area, Bull Street - High Street - Corporation Street, it would give that convenience. The fact that premises are continually coming to the market and are being "snapped up" by other concerns indicates that premises can be secured. I am informed that Messrs Lyons & Company recently took steps to secure a site in Bull Street, the Corporation owning the freehold.

(October 4th 1923.)

 

417     RESOLVED:- That the General Committee be recommended to draw the attention of the General Purposes Committee to the necessity of providing suitable premises for the Head Office of the Bank in the near future, with a view to the Bank being notified of any suitable sites available or becoming available in the centre of the City.

 

Bank Committee: October 15th 1923

 

Accommodation at Head Office.

 

With regard to the question of the accommodation at head office, your Sub-Committee have had before them a report of the General Manager on the subject. They are impressed with the need, which is rapidly becoming urgent, for increased and more suitable accommodation for the Bank.

 

The report points out that owing to the increase of work in all departments of the Bank, the existing accommodation is now inadequate in almost all respects, especially with regard to the strong room, counter space and facilities for interviews with Solicitors and other persons

.

Your Sub-Committee have given the matter their very careful consideration, and they are of opinion that representations should be made forthwith to the General Purposes Committee pointing out the necessity of the provision of suitably situated premises for head office in the near future, and requesting them to ascertain whether any such site is available in the centre of the City. The Sub-Committee were of opinion that a site should be secured somewhere in the area of Bull Street, High Street - Corporation Street if possible as apart from the impracticability of further extension at the Council House, they are convinced that the situation suggested would be in every way more convenient to depositors, especially during the hours of evening openings when pedestrian traffic in this area is very great in comparison with Edmund Street.

 

In connection with the above matter, the following Table is submitted showing the increase in transactions at Head Office and Daily Branches during period 1st April 1923 - 22nd September 1923.

 

AVERAGE NUMBER OF TRANSACTIONS PER WEEK.

 

 

 

Year ended

31st March

1923

Period from

1st April 1923 to

22nd Sept. 1923

 

Increase per week

Head Office

1,556

1,857

301

Aston

700

923

223

Aston Cross

315

491

176

Balsall Heath

494

647

153

Bearwood

240

341

101

Duddeston

473

698

225

Erdington

237

344

107

Handsworth

416

555

139

Kings Heath

272

388

116

Ladywood

494

581

87

Lozells

527

621

94

Rotton Park

372

526

154

Saltley

385

490

105

Selly Oak

98

231

133

Small Heath

965

1,168

203

Sparkbrook

1,124

1,197

73

Sparkhill

227

296

69

 

 

 

 

 

8,895

11,354

2,459

 

1521 RESOLVED:- That the attention of the General Purposes and Estates Committee be drawn to the necessity in the near future for the provision of suitably situated premises in the centre of the City for the Head Office of the Bank; and that they be requested to notify this Committee of any suitable sites becoming available on the falling in of leases on Corporation land, or which could be secured in the centre of the City, preferably in the area Bull Street - High Street - Corporation Street.

 

 

 

                                                                                                         Continued ....

 

 

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