Here we go again - the annual saga of the Birmingham Library.
To recap, Labour had plans for a new Library of Birmingham to replace the crumbling concrete monstrosity of the Central Library. Those plans were ready to progress to a full business case to support a PFI application, but when Whitless and Hemming did their dirty deal in 2004, that was trodden underfoot as the Tories swept the Council House clean of the Labour plans that they didn't like. Back in 2005, after much consideration, the grand idea was vomited forth by the massed brains of the Tory/LibDem leadership.
Despite a report by outside advisors that recommended a single-site option, the council decided that users would be best served by splitting the functions across two, widely-separated sites. They submitted a cobbled-together bid for PFI credits which was, unsurprisingly laughed out of contention. Back then, I predicted that we wouldn't see any work on the new library this decade - while the historic archives stored under the sewage pipes in the Central Library continue to be put at risk. I even noted that successful library bids for PFI funding all seemed to share the connection of being single-sites.
So, imagine how surprised I wasn't to see the headline in the Post this week announcing that Whitless is about to make yet another policy U-turn and scrap the idea of a split site library.
So, for all his posturing about how little Labour did to advance the library plan (apart from the international design competition, buying the land and preparing to bid for money), Whitby has added another three years' delay to the whole process. In fact, he's added far more, because we are really back to square one - no site, no plans and no chance of getting the money to build it.
Somebody, please. Sort out this waste of political space.