Dear Sir, £590m: The true cost of the new library.
Well, maybe. Certainly the Birmingham Post needs to be congratulated for exposing the lies and distortions that we have been told over this inevitable shambles. It’s a pity that you did not add the word “scheme” to your headline. One of the great merits of this scheme – so we were told – was that it would “open up” access from Centenary Square through to the Town Hall. This actually involves knocking down the existing Library building, (and making good the site), knocking down Chamberlain House (and rebuilding it elsewhere), and knocking down The Birmingham Conservatoire (ditto).
True cost of the scheme? Well over a billion pounds.
However, this misconceived project raises wider issues about the governance of our city. There are those (including the Birmingham Post) who advocate that we need an elected executive mayor. Thank you, but no thank you. In Councillor Mike Whitby we already have a man who appears to be an executive mayor in all but name, and has too much power for his, and our, own good. Let’s have a return to local politics where controversial issues are properly debated in the council chamber, and where there is an effective opposition (which the current Labour group appears to be incapable of providing).
Anthony N Cook,