With the temporary return of the Birmingham Big Wheel (hopefully without the Parisian commentary which made it all the more quirky the first time around), are we going to perhaps see a return of the Birmingham Big Screen?
For what seems like almost two years now, the Big Screen has remained resolutely dark, with nothing but a test pixel lit to show that it’s still got mains power. This is a real shame, as the screen’s a definite asset to the city centre; when I moved to the city in 2005 I enjoyed walking past it every day. I watched the news on it in the evening, I caught some short films and sometimes it even threw a few curveballs my way. As well as that, it screened the football and other major sporting events (drawing major crowds, not always without their own minor crowd control problems, but all in all well managed).
But then, one day,Â it went dark…
After the owners of Waterloo House obtained a High Court injunction against the City Council (claiming that it disturbed the workers inside), the Big Screen was switched off. As its temporary moorings in front of the then-unfinished Town Hall were removed, the screen had to move as well, and BCC (perhaps unwisely) built a moreÂ permanent plinth for the screen in Victoria Square. Costs for this lift-and-move have been reported as ca. Â£1million.
Attempts to gain planning permission for this new (re?)installation have garnered some opposition, and while I agree it will raise noise levels just perceptibly, I highly doubt that the sound would be that audible from the various office locations given the angle and the amount of surroundingÂ street furniture which would help to disperse and diffract soundwaves (the screen’s PA was never that loud anyway). In short, the Birmingham Big Screen should definitely be turned back on, and About Brum fully supports its reactivation. It provides a tangible benefit to the locale, offers a focal point for people to meet and enjoy their lunchtimes and gives the city centre another venue for people to publicly enjoy sporting events and quickly catch up with breaking news. I never heard people complaining as they sat on the steps each lunchtime watching!
But what do you think? Do you work nearby or do you just love/hate the thing? Always interested to know.