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NEW USE FOR CENTRAL LIBRARY

Lead petitioner : alan clawley

Status: New > Draft > Rejected > Accepted > Collecting signatures > Awaiting submission > Submitted > Pending owner response > Closed > Withdrawn

Status: Closed

Petition

We call on the City Council to review its decision to demolish the Central Library building and urgently to commission a report that will
i) identify viable new uses for the building
ii) consider the financial, social, environmental and cultural advantages to the city and region of retaining the building for the public benefit

Background information

When reaching its decision more than a decade ago to demolish the Central Library building the City Council failed to consider
a) its potential use for purposes other than that of a library
b) the impact of demolition and subsequent re-building on emissions of greenhouse gases
c) the effect of a collapse in the commercial property market
d)the growing public appreciation of twentieth century architecture, the ruling by English Heritage in 2003 and 2008 that the Library should be statutorily listed, and the call for its protection by the World Monuments Fund in 2011

Signature Count

688

Dialogue

The Council says:
E- Petition Note – Demolition of Central Library, Paradise Circus. 1.0 Introduction. The following is a response to the recent E-Petition on the future of existing library. It therefore confirms the historic studies, reports and appraisals carried out on the behalf of the Council over the pass 12 years to support the Council’s current strategy for the existing library and the provision of the New Birmingham Library. 2.0 Background. 1.In early 2000 the Council identified major problems with the existing Central Library building, built in the early 1970s. Where the overall fabric of the building was found to be in a very poor condition with the design unsuitable for meeting the needs of the 21st century. The capacity and environment of the storage and public access for archives, photography and rare printed collections was unacceptably and poor for such significant collections. 2.Cabinet in February 2001 approved a report setting out the Councils vision for the replacement of the existing Library including the forward Development of the City Centre, and the New Birmingham Library. 3.November 2002, the Council published an early concept design for a proposed new library on Eastside. This concept design was the starting point for discussion and consultation, which continued throughout 2003 and early 2004. Followed in August 2004 by the appointment of specialist consultants to appraise the various options. 4.October 2007 Cabinet selected the site at Broad Street adjacent to the Rep and Baskerville House as the preferred location of the new Birmingham Library. This discussion was taken in favour of the other options, firstly the refurbishment of the existing building and secondly with the relocation to the Eastside. 5.July 2012 the options appraisal was revisited as part of the Business Case to Cabinet on, assessing the financial, economic, and quality criteria. Based on the scenario of do minimum, maintaining most of the site in its current form, through to a comprehensive re-development of the entire site. The Overall Business Case concluded that the comprehensive development scheme proposal represent the best of all the options against the appraisal criteria. The comprehensive scheme also fits with the Council’s vision for Birmingham and is therefore recommended as the preferred option. 6.Planning public consultation held in February 2012 to sort feedback on the proposals prior to submission of outline planning application on the 26th July 2012 (Application No: 2012/05116/PA) for the complete Paradise Circus site. 7.The existing library will be vacated from August 2013. 2.0 Conclusion. Since 2000 the Council has commissioned several optional appraisal studies and reports to consider various options for the library that ranges from the refurbishment of the existing library including the relocation to the Eastside. However Cabinet in October 2007 endorsed selected the site at Broad Street as the preferred location for the new Birmingham Library. The Construction of the New Birmingham Library is near completion with the anticipated opening date of September 2013. Planning Committee on the 19th December 2012 approval outline planning consent for the comprehensive redevelopment of the Paradise Circus site, that will generate capital investment in the City including much needed jobs over the next few years. The number of historic reports and studies has supported the Council’s strategy going forward for the existing library. Therefore the Council do not propose to commission any further report on the future of the existing library as this would not be an efficient use of public resources.