Saturday, November 05, 2005

Defying common sense. Again

I suppose that a tiny bit of blame falls on my shoulders - and on the rest of the critics who have attacked the Tory/Liberal Democrat council over their vacillation and inaction over major projects like the new Library of Birmingham.

Still, I'd like to see them make a decision that made sense.

It seems that despite a scrutiny report heavily critical of the council's back-of-an-envelope plan to split the central library into two sites, despite a costly consultants' report that pointed towards the original Labour plan as offering the best fit between value and service delivery and despite claims from his own officers that even this plan might prove impossible to deliver, Mike Whitless knows better. Oh yes. Nothing will get in the way of this split site option and they intend to appoint a former city council officer to force the project through negotiate with the lead consultants.

The only problem is that the scrutiny committee that laughed the split-site proposal out of court is headed by a senior Liberal Democrat, who was narrowly defeated for the group leadership by Paul Tilsley a few months ago after John Hemming jumped ship for Westminster (and managed to avoid the avalanche of bad PR that has hit the council in recent weeks). This will only deepen the fractures that are being papered over to try and keep this tottering coalition together.

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