There is no doubting the sincerity of campaigners who want to preserve Birmingham's Central Library. Understandably, there is a certain amount of anger and bewilderment that a 34-year-old building has been permitted to deteriorate to the extent that the cost of repairs, modernisation and enlargement is in excess of £100 million.
But really, on the question of whether this concrete monstrosity should be listed as a building of architectural importance, there is one answer. Prince Charles was right when he said the library looked more like a place where books are burned than read. It is not under any circumstances worth saving, let alone worth making larger.
It is difficult to see why it is taking Margaret Hodge, the Culture Minister, so long to decide whether to grant the city council a certificate of immunity from listing. She is said to be waiting for a report from English Heritage, but English Heritage has had since September to make its views known.
Mrs Hodge should be aware that if she bows to the wishes of a minority of single-issue activists by refusing the certificate and listing the library, she threatens to derail what promises to be a truly exciting transformation of Paradise Circus - a once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-model the civic heart of Birmingham and, vitally, improve pedestrian links between the east and west of the city centre.
Those who bemoan the loss of the Central Library building would do better to pour their creative energies into helping plan the new library in Centenary Square and the redevelopment of the civic quarter. A sensible debate about what should replace Paradise Forum and surrounding buildings, particularly the design and scale of development, would be a far more constructive exercise than continuing to fight the battles of yesterday.