THE FORMER tax office could be turned into housing following a bid by the council to lift restrictions on the building’s use.
But Redditch Borough Council will not say whether or not the sale of Threadneedle House will collapse if the move fails.
An offer has been accepted on the town centre site, previously occupied by Barclays Bank, the Job Centre and the HMRC tax office and still used by the Post Office, in September 2014.
But the sale is still going through meaning it is still owned by the council which has now applied to lift conditions imposed when it was originally built.
They restrict its uses to offices and a Post Office and no other purposes.
However councillors will consider at a planning committee meeting on Wednesday (February 11) whether or not to allow a wider range of permitted development rights.
While nothing has been revealed about the developer’s intended use for Threadneedle, there is mention in a report to councillors of it being ‘often appropriate to encourage residential uses on upper floors’ with shops or public services on the ground floor.
Coun David Bush, who has raised concerns about the future use of Threadneedle House before, said he understood why the council was looking for the restrictions to be removed as there was an oversupply of offices in Redditch and businesses were not attracted to old-fashioned offices with limited parking.
“But I have concerns about particularly the ground floor being turned into residential use. We need to retain a commercial area, either with some restaurants or entertainment, otherwise we will isolate the town hall,” he told the Standard.
“I have major concerns how they are going to find adequate parking to service any residential which is put there. The desire to have residential areas in the centre is great in cities but in Redditch there isn’t the same attraction for people to live in the town centre. I struggle to see how converting it to residential is going to have a positive impact on the area.”
A council spokeswoman said: “The council’s property and legal officers are currently working with the prospective purchasers and their legal team through the complex processes necessary to complete the sale of such a substantial property within the coming months.”
She added the council could not comment on the terms and conditions of the sale while it was still going through.