Lawyers at Birmingham City Council are so concerned about the financial implications of building a new civic library they are censoring information already in the public domain.
A Freedom of Information Act request by The Birmingham Post resulted in the release of a bundle of documents, but with cost projections amounting to millions of pounds scored through.
Council lawyers and accountants say the detail cannot be released because it is commercially sensitive.
But much of the censored information has already been published by a scrutiny committee.
Council legal teams, which spent more than three months considering The Post request, also managed to contradict themselves by censoring figures in some documents that they were prepared to release in other documents.
Council censors refused to say how much it will cost to provide furniture, fittings and equipment for the proposed #147 million split-site library at Millennium Point and Centenary Square.
They also refused to say how much it will cost the council to maintain the Central Library until the new buildings are available.
Another item deemed too sensitive to release was the size of a Private Finance Initiative bid for the new library. The figure was scored through in a written report by Eastside development manager Alan Bishop. However, in an appendix to the same report, the figure is given as #55 million.
The cost to the council of extending and refurbishing the Central Library has been removed from Mr Bishop's report, which was written in May.
In a scrutiny committee report published in October, the figure was put at #105 million.
The cost to the council of building a single site library at Eastside, after deducting external funding and grants, was also removed from Mr Bishop's report, although a figure of #49.5 million was given to the scrutiny committee.
Detail about a compromise solution, which would have seen part of the library housed at Baskerville House and the rest at Eastside, was also censored including the cost to the council of acquiring Baskerville House. However, the figure, #110 million, was given to the scrutiny committee.
Details of a prospective bid to the Living Landmarks lottery fund for the library were removed from a cabinet report but the figure sought, #25 million, remained uncensored in Mr Bishop's report.
Figures showing the potential for the council to reduce the running costs of the split-site library by selling land at Paradise Circus were also scored through.
The reports issued under the FOI Act show a mounting sense of frustration among council officers as final decisions about the library were put back and an admission that a split-site operation would be more costly to run.
Mr Bishop wrote that the delay in making a decision about a #179 million plan to build the Lord Rogers library at Eastside was "impeding development in Eastside."
Mr Bishop added: "In Eastside, a prominent site has been acquired and cleared ready for the development of the library. Major development schemes are advancing on every site adjoining it, but the lack of a decision on the site's future is now holding back the regeneration of Eastside."
There were also hints about the impact of disagreement among the council's political groups.
Mr Bishop added: "The council needs to consider how we embark on such a major project in the future, particularly the production of a deliverable brief. There are lessons in how the approach here has struggled to gain momentum whilst other projects have become sustainable and been delivered ie the National Indoor Arena, Millennium Point and the Town Hall."
The Birmingham Post is to appeal against the censoring of the library reports.