Fine building with an important role to play
Dear Editor, I refer to your front page feature 'Who will save City's Curzon Street Station?'.

Curzon Street Station is a fabulous Grade One listed building, which provides a magnificent centre piece to the Eastside regeneration. It complements neighbouring developments, such as the new conservatoire and campus for 10,000 students, being developed by Birmingham City University; and the £350 million mixed-use development by Development Securities/Grainger Trust at Curzon Park.

Although it has been closed for six years, in that time the station has continued to provide an important role in Birmingham's historical and cultural scene, hosting arts-based events. Recent examples include Station - a sensational exhibition of photography and Blast - part of this years Artsfest programme.

Moving forward, we have commissioned Drivers Jonas consultants to undertake an evaluation exercise to outline a series of workable options for the Station's future.

It is estimated that £2.6 million is needed to refurbish these premises to a good standard and the city council is actively working with partners to secure an appropriate and sustainable future, so that this fine building can play an important role in our expanding city centre.
 Coun NEVILLE SUMMERFIELD, Cabinet Member for Regeneration

Paxman gets it wrong
Dear editor, On University Challenge (BBC 2, Nov 26) Birmingham University played against Magdalen College, Oxford.

Magdalen were declared to have won by 10 points. I do not think that they did. Jeremy Paxman asked a question: "Who said, the British Isles are sitting on coal and are surrounded by fish? Only a genius could achieve a shortage in both.''

Birmingham replied: "Churchill.'' "No,'' said Paxman. "Bevan.''

I contend that Birmingham was right and Paxman wrong. He denied Birmingham therefore the 10 points which would have put them level with Oxford. Oxford did not win. I have phoned the BBC but my appeals and questions have been ignored. Has the Birmingham University team themselves protested?

I am sure that I am right.
 HAROLD NASH, Wythall

Planners must see the light at 'Pagoda Island'
Dear Editor, I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the traffic congestion around the Holloway Head roundabout ('the Pagoda island') in Birmingham city centre.

No matter what time of day I am there, everything always seems to be gridlocked - the whole island solid traffic, impossible to navigate - whichever direction you are approaching it.

Last Friday my wife and I were very late for a business function, having spent a good half an hour at a standstill there in our taxi. The development of Bullring, the fabulous Beetham Tower etc is all very well, but if both visitors and residents cannot get around the city, it is all for nothing.

I am convinced the problem has only been so noticeable since traffic lights were installed; I would be curious to see what happened if, for one day, the council turned off the lights and let it operate as a conventional roundabout. It could not be any worse than it is at the moment!
 DAVID PALMER, Kings Norton

Pure Sky Blue bilge
Dear Editor, Like most Coventry residents, I don't support Coventry City. However, Neville Hadsley needs to throw away his funny specs and remember that he is supposed to be a journalist before be writes any more bilge on the Sky Blue's principal shareholder.

The real rot started when Derrick Robins became a major shareholder over 40 years ago. He deliberated kept the club under-funded by refusing to issue the other 50 per cent of the shares. He also instituted the policy of forcing the manager to sell his best players to avoid having to bring new capital into the boardroom.

Had it not been for Geoffrey Robinson (Lab, Coventry NW) the Sky Blues would have gone bust years ago. Neville forgets that Geoffrey stands to lose a good chunk of his capital even if the club is baled out. Would he be prepared to do the same? I think not.

Then there is the Ricoh Arena. Sorry, Neville, but you should check your facts again. It only took me, a member of the "Thick Five" in the scrum, one simple telephone call to find out that Bryan Richardson had constructed a legal device which gave him first refusal on any purchase and development of the Foleshill Gas Works site.

Mr Richardson's opportunism delayed the move to the Ricoh by at least two years. Neville also forgets that the people who run Brum (as opposed to ordinary hard-working Brummies) stopped Coventry Corporation from getting the National Stadium by floating a bogus plan of their own at the back of the NEC.

Again, a single telephone call was all it took me to check that one out.

If Neville must smack the wrists of the Sky Blues board, it is the admission prices (too high) and contracting out catering (major loss of cash flow) which have resulted in the overdraft being so high.

The nation's sports reporters would do far better to "door step" both the Higgs Trust and the Officers of Coventry Corporation and ask them why they are trying to "give away" the Ricoh for half price.

This development is worth £200 million and, when completed, will be generating £20 to £25 million worth of profits per year. Half of that goes back to ratepayers, as long as we still own it.

The biggest tragedy is that Coventry RFC's recently-retired chairman, Keith Fairbrother, was never given the full encouragement of Coventry Corpora-tion's officers to bring a realistic bid (with the backing of many leading businessmen) 12 months ago.

This is something that a lot of Sky Blues supporters would have backed him on, especially when they saw what a good job he did at The Butts.
 CHRIS YOUETT, Coventry

No incentive to use public transport
Dear Editor, Is our city council trying actively to discourage the use of public transport? The Bristol Road through Northfield was closed without warning last Saturday, and buses diverted round the new by-pass (cars, of course, were still allowed to reach the shopping centre car-park). On my bus the driver, who spoke little English, never warned us of this and did not want to stop before the other end of the by-pass, until he feared what the passengers might do.

For the return journey, would-be passengers had to walk almost to the Woodlands Hospital stop, many carrying heavy shopping bags for that considerable distance. If this detour had to be imposed, surely some temporary stops could have been placed along the by-pass. What a shambles!
 HEATHER TOMLINSON (Mrs), by email