5th Anniversary

26 February 2012 will be the 5th anniversary of the Public Meeting and Exhibition at the BMI that launched Friends of the Central Library. The speakers were Brian Gambles, Clive Dutton, Gary Taylor, John Madin, Joe Holyoak and Andy Foster.

This date could be an occasion for Friends of the Central Library to celebrate the fact that the Library is still standing and to launch proposals that show how the building could be retained, re-used and integrated in the redevelopment of Paradise Circus.

What has happened since 2007?

a..Clive Dutton left Birmingham and has been replaced by Mark Barrow and Wahid Nazir. Brian Gambles will be pre-occupied with opening the new library in Centenary Square in the summer of 2013. Gary Taylor left Argent but remains involved in the Paradise Circus redevelopment as an independent consultant. Argent are understood to remain committed to the project. John Madin, Joe Holyoak and Andy Foster battle on regardless.

b.. The new library is well under construction and it now seems certainThat the contents of the Central Library building will move to the new library in 2013. The Council maintains that the building will then be demolished. The Certificate of Immunity from Listing was issued in early
2011 and is valid until 2015.

c.. Argent plc appointed Glenn Howells as its architect and master planner for Paradise Circus. An exhibition of his drawings was held in February 2010 but no further proposals have been published since then. Argent’s Exclusivity Agreement expired in early 2011 and was replaced with an equally exclusive  ‘joint venture agreement’.

d.. The City Council expects to receive a planning application from Argent in 2012. No schedules of accommodation or planning briefs have been released by the Council.

e.. The commercial property market crashed in 2008 and remains depressed. There is no evidence of Arena Central or British Land in Colmore Row going ahead. The Council insists that Paradise Circus remains a vital part of its Big City Plan but that it is not yet strategic enough to be subject to its ‘Strategic Development Protocol.’ There is no news on Councillor Mullaney’s proposal to re-locate the Conservatoire to Louisa Ryland House and rebuild the Adrian Boult Hall on the site of Chamberlain House. Wetherspoons are refurbishing their unit in Paradise Forum to match the others. There is no evidence of ‘planning blight’ affecting any business in Paradise Circus,
Paradise Forum or Fletchers Walk.

f.. The John Madin book was published in March 2011 by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

g.. Some architecture and urban design students chose to do projects based on retaining the Central Library.

What Next?

Friends of the Central Library has £136 in the bank that can be used for promoting ideas for the future for the Library building. If supporters agree in principle we can work on the format and content of the event.

Alan Clawley, Secretary
27 September 2011