The leader of Birmingham City Council has vowed to fight to have the Central Library demolished even if the Government rules the building is of special architectural merit and should be protected.
Mike Whitby said he would try to overturn any decision to approve listed building status by making the case that the 1970s structure must go because it stands in the way of regenerating the city centre.
His comments came as it emerged that Culture Minister Margaret Hodge is close to making a decision about the future of the Central Library, in Paradise Forum.
Mrs Hodge will act as soon as she receives a report from English Heritage setting out whether the building should be retained.
She is under pressure to issue a certificate of immunity from listing, which would give the council a five year breathing space to proceed with demolishing the library as part of a £1 billion redevelopment of Paradise Circus.
But campaigners fighting to save the city landmark have made a direct appeal to the Government. Alan Clawley, secretary of the Friends of the Central Library, is urging Mrs Hodge to come and see for herself before making a decision.
He wants the library listed, a decision which would halt city centre regeneration and delay plans for a new £193 million joint library in Centenary Square.
Coun Whitby (Con Harborne) said: "We want to demolish the Central Library without any unforeseen circumstances. Listing the building would make things a little more awkward. But whatever the outcome is, we can still proceed.
"There is a process to ensure that we can carry out our planned demolition."
If the library is listed, the council could recommend demolition but a final decision would have to be taken by the Department for Communities and Local Government. A public inquiry would probably follow.
A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: "We are still waiting for advice from English Heritage. They have done a thorough survey and the Minister will make a decision on the basis of that and other representations received."
He said a decision was expected "in a few weeks time".
English Heritage recommended listing the Central Library in 2003, but the suggestion was overruled at the time by the DCMS which said the building, although interesting, was not worthy of special protection.
The council argues that the library does not meet modern standards and is in dire need of refurbishment. The bill to bring the building up to scratch is estimated at more than £100 million.
When applying for the certificate of immunity last September, council regeneration director Clive Dutton said: "If the Central Library were to be listed, this would have a catastrophic effect on the council’s plans for not only the Library of Birmingham, depriving people of the world-class facility we feel they deserve, but also for the future redevelopment of Paradise Circus and the west end of the city centre."
The council has been urging business leaders, other stakeholders and pressure groups to write to the DCMS in support of the immunity certificate.