Dear Editor, Your editorial about the “balls up” at the County Ground (April 20) is welcome for its good sense about the bizarre shenanigans with the council cabinet and various committees and the assessment by Deloitte that the club’s financial projections are unrealistic.
Although those only confirm what many of us already realised, it is good to have confirmation from such a source.
Perhaps Advantage West Midlands should also examine the city council’s Urban Development Plan, which specifies land use at the County Ground as being “an important cricket and sporting facility,” not a commercial development site. They might then think their offer of a £9.7 million loan inappropriate.
However, I am concerned at the prominence given to an unrepresentative individual’s call for the club to move out of Birmingham, to a site near the NEC. None of the residents’ organisations opposing the current plans wants to see such an impracticable idea being pursued.
As for his claim to be co-ordinating the opposition, his sole contribution has been to use his position as chief executive of a private company to print and help distribute a leaflet telling local residents about the meeting at the County Ground on March 31. At no point during that meeting did he mention his eccentric proposal, perhaps because he had already heard a number of local residents say how much we want to see the County Ground retained as a sports venue and for its facilities to be appropriately improved. Our argument is with the scale and nature of the development proposals, not the retention of such a prestigious venue on our doorsteps..
The opposition to the current plans have been led by Leo Nation and Vijay Sarathy, of Cannon Hill Neighbourhood Forum, and Prof. Caroline Hicks, of the Russell Road Residents’ Association. All are unpaid speakers for the local community and should be consulted by your reporter, rather than someone who claims to represent local people despite living far away.
Two weeks after the Planning Committee deferred a decision on WCCC’s extravagant plans until they had consulted local residents, we have yet to hear from the club. Why not?
Treasurer, Cannon Hill Neighbourhood Forum