‘Pie in sky’ NEC vision queried
CONSERVATIVE councillors have moved to block an ambitious masterplan for the National Exhibition Centre, which they have branded ‘pie in the sky’.
Earlier this month Birmingham City Council and NEC Ltd published a joint vision for the sprawling site in Solihull which aims to create 10,000 new jobs and 2,000 new homes.
The plans include redeveloping entrances, creating a lakeside expansion to Resorts World, improved transport links through the Metro extension and possible Sprint bus routes, as well as an ‘enterntainment zone’ featuring a new television and film production studio thought to be the project backed by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight.
But Cllr Ken Wood (Sutton Walmley and Minworth), the Tory group’s shadow culture chief, and fellow party member Cllr Simon Morrall (Frankley Great Park) have called in the masterplan so it can be sent back to cabinet for reconsideration. Cllr Wood highlighted the recent controversy over the NEC Group being acquired for £800 million by Blackstone years after the council sold £307 million.
He said: “Our argument is that we want to see more meat on the bone because it lacks a lot of detail. It is pie in the sky stuff.
“Personally, I think it is a great vision but there is no depth to it.
“What concerns me is whether we are setting ourselves up to repeat the mistakes, or the possible mistakes, of the past. It is typical of the council at the moment, they are producing very nice docu- three it for ments but they have no substance.
“The council is making efficiencies or savings, and we should be getting officers to work on things with more credence to them.”
The council spent £425,000 the masterplan to be produced.
Leader Ian Ward described it as a ‘radical vision for the transformation of the NEC campus which will not only see the Midlands International appeal and global position strengthened but also bring huge economic benefits to our local communities’. for
> The vision for the NEC which has been queried by councillors