Give back more ser­vices to coun­cil

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

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

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