Dear Editor, In the early hours of Sunday morning the doors of the Central Methodist Hall closed behind what will probably be the last group of party goers to enjoy a night out in this fantastic building.
We have of course been here before, but it seems that the objections regarding the alterations that will be made to the main hall that have stopped previous attempts at conversion have not at last been resolved. It seems they have simply been ignored by the planning department who are under pressure from central government to not be an obstacle to development, no matter what the cost to our heritage.
As you will be well aware the building is not in a particularly good state of repair, but there can be few places of this vintage that still have so many original fittings intact. The seating in particular has to be an almost unique survival in the UK.
There is growing concern for the preservation of our more recent past alongside our attempts to preserve our older sites and monuments. I can think of no building in the city that has such a strong legacy relating to Birmingham’s more recent musical heritage, and it is important at a national level as not only an early rave venue, but one that was in use, on and off, for 20 years. Whilst this may not seem important now, the fact that the venue was allowed to be converted may well be seen as a piece of cultural desecration of the highest order in the years to come.
There surely must be time left to halt this proposed development and to secure a future for a venue that is not only the most important and popular in the city, but also the most important for the Midlands region as a whole.
Archaeologist and Que Club raver