Birmingham’s long-silent big screen is to get a soundproof shield in a bid to lift the court injunction which has prevented it being switched on for more than a year.
The 27ft-wide television in Victoria Square was supposed to be unveiled in time for the start of the 2007 Frankfurt Christmas market, but has remained embarrassingly silent while the city council and the owners of the Waterloo House office block have been embroiled in a costly legal dispute.
Now the council’s events department has submitted a fresh application for the screen, complete with extra sound proofing and a full noise-impact report from Arup Acoustics. They hope to overcome objections that office workers would be disturbed by the constant drone from the BBC’s rolling news coverage.
The project has been mired in controversy since it was decided to replace the temporary screen, on the side of the Town Hall in Chamberlain Square.
Conservation groups said it was not suitable for the city’s prime conservation area but council bosses wanted crowds watching events such as Children In Need and The Last Night of the Proms to be filmed against a backdrop of the historic Town Hall and Council House.
Permission was secured in September 2007 after the screen was presented at the end of a planning committee meeting, without having been previously announced on an agenda.
It was then put under wraps when the owners of Waterloo House secured an injunction in December 2007. The injunction, which remains in place, was made after lawyers claimed irregularities with the way planning permission was granted and said noise from broadcasts would disturb office workers.
The Council Cabinet is due to see a full report on the screen early next month. Public consultation is due to end on January 7.