New Birmingham Library Public Consultation almost complete

New Birmingham Library Concept Art 01 (from BCC)

For those who were unaware, the Public Consultation for the planned £193m Birmingham Library  is halfway complete (it’s been running from the 20th of April and will end on the 22nd of May).

This is the last opportunity the general public will have to voice their opinions – you can contribute yours, so get going – there’s more info on the BCC web site. Likewise, they’re also running focus groups which you can participate in.

As local residents, it’s your Council Tax money they’re spending, so why not have your say?

Some blurb from the BCC web site;

Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council, has unveiled the design concepts for the new Library of Birmingham by the acclaimed Dutch architects Mecanoo.

The Library of Birmingham will be situated on Centenary Square between the Birmingham Repertory Theatre (The REP) and Baskerville House. The project will make a huge contribution to the regeneration of the city, creating 250 new jobs including 25 apprenticeships.

The library building will be joined to The REP at ground and mezzanine levels and will share the foyer, bars, restaurants and a new 300 seat theatre.

What bothers me the most (aside from the astounding cost, and the fact that this redevelopment isn’t really necessary) is that they’re going to be using the entire plot of land currently used as a car park – granted the multi-storey behind Baskerville House will still be there, but it’s always full in the daytime with commuters’ vehicles. When this Library is built, parking your car in the centre of Birmingham will become just that little bit more difficult.

Worst of all, as part of the redevelopment of the surrounding area, all but a few circles of grass will be removed and paved over wholesale – what happens to the water table, and why are the few remaining patches of green space in the middle of our city to be so neglected? There’s a lot to be said for being able to relax during your lunch breaks while sitting on a nice patch of grass in the warmer months.

The one good thing about this redevelopment taking place is that archaeologists from the UoB have unearthed some interesting finds just below the car park tarmac, including a “canal arm and factory remains.” From the site;

A previous desk-based assessment showed that the site was formerly within the vicinity of John Baskerville’s house in the 18th century, a canal, and was the later location of the Union Brassworks in the early-19th century, and Winfields Brass Works, one of the largest brassworks in Birmingham during the mid to late-19th century.

There’s a more detailed writeup (old link, obsolete) (with more photos and a video of an animated above- and below-ground virtual tour) on the University’s Archeology and Anthropology web site.

Related reading:

Library of Birmingham promotional web site
UoB: Cambridge Street, Birmingham
BCC: Concept designs for Brum Library
Birmingham Mail: first look at new Birmingham Library
BCC: BigCityPlan – The Core

Published by Christopher

The guy behind About Brum - living and working in Birmingham and the Black Country. I love this city!

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