Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Watching the consultants - tunnels and libraries

It has been suggested that the council don't want to cite the widely-trailed Birmingham Underground feasibility study as evidence for the upcoming cabinet meeting where it is expected to be kicked into touch with the smooth efficiency of Jonny Wilkinson. They've reckoned without the Freedom of Information Act, which has forced them to promise publication of the original report before the 12 September, in the face of threats to take them to the Information Commissioner for withholding information.

My source did provide a piece of information that intrigued me, though. Apparently, the City Council claim not to have a full and final copy of the report - which seems odd as they've been happily leaking the results to the press for months, softening us up for the revelation that the project would be hog-whimperingly expensive, prolonged, impractical and disruptive.

And to think, I told you that last December for the price of an internet connection. £150,000 down the drain there, then, precisely as forecast. (If I get any splashes of prescience about the lottery numbers, I'll keep it to myself).

Doubtless a similar sum was wasted on the report into replacing the crumbling Birmingham Central Library. As reported here, the Council have finally published the report in full, slipping it onto the web in the quiet season for politics. There's not a lot new in it - the gems have already been mined by the politicians and passed to their journalistic sidekicks. What is very interesting is that the proposal to split the Library was considered by the review team. When their tests were applied to it, that proposal failed to make the shortlist, so it was rejected for detailed study (although the abortive Baskerville House option was considered at the last minute after one of the Tory councillors doodled an idea on the back of an envelope).

So, after spending tens of thousands of pounds of your money on this report and employing experienced consultants to provide objective answers to the problems, Whitless decided that the report didn't give the answer he wanted and he knew better. All because the report supported the original Labour plan to build a new super-library in Eastside. There can be no other explanation for it - the report was ignored for purely political reasons.

The man's vision is so blinkered that a visit to the opticians is long overdue.

1 comment:

john said...

Remember that Labour did not get even as far as bidding for funds.

Whatever option is picked the funds are still needed.