Birmingham schools earmarked to be turned into city academies may miss out on millions of pounds of investment. Education chiefs have identified seven schools they want to turn into the flagship Government centres aimed at addressing under-achievement in urban areas. Under the controversial programme, schools are knocked down and replaced with a #25 million new building, with a #2 million contribution from an outside sponsor. Birmingham, however, is in negotiations with the Department for Education and Skills for a customised version of the concept.
The inability of senior councillors to decide the best site for a new super-casino has "undermined Birmingham's credibility", the leader of the opposition on the city council has claimed. Sir Albert Bore, leader of the Labour group, said a decision to back Birmingham City Football Club's proposals for a new Sports Village or the National Exhibition Centre's plans for a casino complex should have been taken "weeks ago". Sir Albert also claimed the local authority's ruling cabinet should have ensured the NEC made a commitment to fund new sporting facilities in Birmingham if it gets city council backing for a new gaming complex on its Solihull site. The cabinet meets on Monday to decide which casino option to support and is expected to support the NEC scheme.
The case for building the new Library of Birmingham on two sites has still not been properly made, according to a city council scrutiny committee. Committee chairman Mick Wilkes and his deputy, James Hutchings, said in a joint statement that although some of their concerns had been addressed in a consultant's report, evidence was far from complete and there were still a number of gaps to be addressed. Backbench councillors across all parties are continuing to question the wisdom of splitting the new library ? with the lending and reference centre at Centenary Square and an archive and family history centre at Millennium Point. A decision to press ahead with the split-site solution will be taken by the council cabinet on Monday, finally putting paid to a #179 million scheme by the architect Lord Rogers for a new library at Eastside.
It would be "reprehensible" if the Government failed to redevelop Birmingham's New Street Station before the next General Election, shadow Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will tell transport officials on Monday. The rebuilding of the station is vital in reducing the rail bottleneck centred on the city and should take place before 2009, according to Mr Grayling. Speaking to The Birmingham Post, he said the Government had promised to rebuild the full-to-capacity station by 2000, and had repeated its promise during the Hodge Hill by-election two years ago, but little had been done since.