It was the gaudy pink sign seen by millions as they strolled through Birmingham city centre, but at least one city heritage buff thinks the Paradise Circus motif is worth keeping.

Councillor Peter Douglas Osborn, a member of the city’s conservation panel, believes that the old Paradise Forum was a ‘pearl within an ugly oyster shell’ and warrants some commemoration before it is demolished .

Coun Douglas Osborn (Cons, Weoley) has fond memories of Paradise Forum and believes other Brummies will look back on it with fondness.

He said: “I would like to keep this sign because Paradise Forum was the one bit of Birmingham Eden that was surrounded by the dreadful library.

“It should be remembered as the pearl in the ugly shell. The contrast was the greater when you think that the building’s stairs were frequently out of order, the outer surface was crumbling, and the damage done to our heritage was getting greater by the day.

“But Paradise Forum was an oasis with its home made ice cream parlour, Baguette de Monde, Nando’s, McDonald’s, the currency exchange, and the best sushi bar this side of Tokyo.”

Pictures: New images of Paradise office buildings

He says that he hopes the high street chains return to the new public spaces which will eventually line the route between Chamberlain and Centenary squares .

And it appears the developer Carillion is, following Coun Osborne’s request via the heritage panel, looking into the viability and cost of removing and preserving the sign.

While conservation groups and campaigns are always likely to call for the rescue of a Victorian building or even a distinctive and divisive piece of post-war brutalist architecture such as the old Central Library, few have ever considered more recent commercial shopping mall design as a classic.

But perhaps Coun Douglas Osborn has point.

Britain’s post-war architects and planners swept away great swathes of Victorian heritage they considered ugly, out-of-date and uninspiring – for example the Euston Station arch and Birmingham’s own Victorian Library – to be replaced, in the name of progress, with buildings many now regard in the same way.

Perhaps, in years to come, some might some recall Paradise Forum with fondness and be grateful that the pink sign has been kept for future generations to admire.

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The burden of being right all the time

A pedestrian vents their fury on a car parked in Harrisons Road, Edgbaston
A pedestrian vents their fury on a car parked in Harrisons Road, Edgbaston

As a keen observer of the council’s planning committee, it is always helpful when a member gives an opinion on a planning application, offers it with passion and is not afraid of going against the grain.

There are several who fall into this category, both past members like Barry Henley and John Clancy, and several of the current crop.

But the standout star this last year has to be Erdington Conservative Gareth Moore , who within a few brief months on the committee has already gained a reputation as the chief lobbyist for car owners who struggle to find somewhere to park.

His outrage at application after application for apartment blocks and offices with no places to park has added fuel to the moves to get the city’s own parking policies reviewed.

He has been backed in this by the residents of Edgbaston and Selly Oak who struggle to find an inch of kerb not occupied by on-street parking.

But like the famous princess in Greek mythology, his warnings are frequently ignored and he finds himself voted down by colleagues.

No wonder Coun Moore announced last week that he is considering changing his name to ‘Cassandra’ by deed poll.

Where are the Mayoresses?

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with former Birmingham councillor Salma Yaqoob. This is the image Ms Yaqoob uses for her Twitter profile
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with former Birmingham councillor Salma Yaqoob. This is the image Ms Yaqoob uses for her Twitter profile

Some Birmingham City Councillors may be itching to debate the merits or otherwise of a regional elected mayor .

But such a move is a token gesture given the momentum delivered by the Government’s devolution deal, the formation of the Greater Birmingham Combined Authority and the cross-party support at a national level.

And with any mayoral election campaign 12 months away they should be turning their attention to candidates.

Those that realise this are already into the speculation and the usual suspects keep getting mentioned – usually an (ex) MP, a senior council figure or a business leader with a toehold in the region.

READ: Only the best will do for Greater Birmingham

But – given the diversity of the West Midlands – it is striking just how many of the names floated around are in the middle-aged white man category .

Euro-MP Sion Simon is a strong favourite for Labour, but others have mentioned Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne and Sandwell Council leader Darren Cooper as possible rivals for the nomination.

However, Labour’s rules state that at least one person on the shortlist must be a woman.

So when is the speculation going to start involving the likes of Birmingham MPs Gisela Stuart and Shabana Mahmood, Wolverhampton MP Emma Reynolds, former Stourbridge MP Lynda Waltho and Euro-MP Neena Gill?

Or perhaps even Salma Yaqoob – once she secures her Labour Party membership card.