Give back more services to council
DEAR Editor, While agreeing that “the Paradise Project is a fiasco” (Letters, November 29) I draw a somewhat different conclusion as to who is to blame. I also think that Jonathan Walker’s article should perhaps have been titled “Council anger with Amey”.
It is of course questionable as to whether Birmingham City Council (BCC) should be seeking partnerships, or employ, the likes of Capita, Carillion, and Amey. They have proved a very costly exercise.
And why should we trust Argent, the present managers of this development? Such companies and unelected organisations such as the LEP and PCLP (mysterious bodies to most of us) are out of BCC control, and unaccountable to the residents of Birmingham.
It does beg the question as to why we continue to demolish perfectly good existing buildings and spaces (offices, hotels, parking spaces, public spaces, shops, restaurants and cafes etc), only to replace them with the same. After all, this requires a huge amount of energy and contributes to climate change. A good example is the Central Library.
The original plan of architect John Madin for its setting was ignored; it was done on the cheap, and then successive administrations (Tory, Lib Dem and Labour) neglected and failed to maintain it.
Even so, the cost of refurbishing was estimated at £38 million while the new one has so far cost more than £100 million.
My conclusion is that BCC should avoid private/public joint ventures and it should restrain those senior officers who currently work hand in glove with developers. We should once again give the councils the in-house resources they need to carry out the restoration, reuse, recycling, repair, refurbishment and maintenance of existing buildings. Lots of permanent jobs would then be created.
Peter Beck, Quinton, Birmingham