Dear Editor, On Friday I went to Edgbaston Cricket Ground to view the new plans unveiled in the Post (Monday Oct 27th).
I fully understand that, in order to remain a Test Cricket venue, there is an urgent need to upgrade the stadium, not just for the good of Edgbaston, but for the City of Birmingham.
I also understand that the new stand, changing room, bars, restaurants, etc. have to be paid for by other development. The result however is likely to be a rather crowded site.
The picture shown in The Post is an artist’s impression of a spacious pedestrian plaza in front of the ground. The caption says this is the view from Edgbaston Mill. What it does not make clear however is that the open space shown belongs to Edgbaston Mill and that, crucially, there is a wide and busy road (the B4127, Edgbaston Road) running in between the two. Try as I might, I cannot see this road in the picture and the impression is given that people will be able to stroll casually from the open space into the ground, which they won’t.
This leads one to wonder why the best view an artist can draw of the new ground is one which shows it from across a busy road. Presumably it is because the ground itself is going to be rather crowded. The only piece of land which will be added to the site is a strip along Pershore Rd containing 12 houses (providing these can be compulsory purchased).
Apart from that, the site will be no bigger than it is now, and yet this is my understanding of what it is proposed will be built on it:
* An enhanced cricket stadium which will increase ground capacity by 4,000
* Improved banqueting and conference facilities
* A large hotel
* A smaller boutique hotel
* A large office accommodation building suitable for the head office of a major company
* Residential accommodation in the form of flats and maisonettes, sited at the side and rear of the stadium. I am told some of this is intended to be family accommodation, so there will need to be somewhere for children to play.
To help accommodate all this development, all the current surface car parking will be put underground and I understand an extra 200 spaces will be added to it. There is no doubt that what is proposed is a major development for Birmingham. Maintaining Test Cricket in the city, and having a stadium in Edgbaston which is fit for the twenty-first century are major pluses. But there are potential downsides. The large amount of office, hotel and residential accommodation will cause extra traffic congestion in what is already a busy area making the B4127 and the Pershore Road even more congested than they already are. On Test Match days, the parking problems are likely to be worse than currently. The plans also include permanent floodlights - an idea which was rejected several years ago after a huge protest from local residents. Last but not least, in the current economic climate, will the proposed flats sell?
I believe these are serious points which will need to be addressed in the coming months if this development is to be the success we all want it to be.
Coun Deirdre Alden
The Cube’s move is to achieve efficiency
Dear Editor, In response to readers’ letters on the Highways Agency relocation to The Cube, the decision comes as the Agency shifts its focus onto the implementation of modern working methods.
The Cube not only offers high quality, sustainable office space which supports our people and provides them with the best tools for the job.
But also offers excellent value for money and will contribute to a reduction in overall costs rather than an increase.
Moving to smaller and more appropriate accommodation in the city centre reflects the Agency’s drive to achieve the highest levels of efficiency.
The relocation will also be achieved within a year on year reduction in our Administration costs.
Highways Agency Chief Executive
Labour is exploiting pride in our country
Dear Editor, In stating that patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel, Dr Johnson was surely referring to the kind of false patriotism repeatedly peddled by the Labour Party.
First it was their shameful and dangerously divisive promise of “British jobs for British workers” – something which was illegal under European law – then it was their proposal that we should have a bank holiday to celebrate “Britishness”.
Wondering why no firm plans for a national holiday had been announced, the Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell asked the Government what was happening, only to be told that the idea had been shelved.
It appears that the Government was never serious in allowing a celebration of our history, culture, and values to take place. This is unacceptable, especially as Gordon Brown and Hodge Hill MP, Liam Byrne, obtained a considerable amount of media coverage about plans for such a holiday.
We then have Phil Woolas, Mr Byrne’s replacement as Immigration Minister, making headline-grabbing statements, only to retract them the next day.
I for one resent having pride in one’s country exploited by those wishing to divert our attention from their mistakes and deficiencies.
In using Britain this way, the Labour Party should hang its head in shame.
Plumstead Road, Birmingham