A round-up of local news from the past week
Submitted by Geoff Caine
***For all images- click on them to see a larger HD view***
Featured this week:
Library of Birmingham Completion Dates
The Developers and its Champion have stuck their necks out!
My contact in Carillion has “confirmed” that the construction works will be completed by 29 April 2013.
This will be followed by the final ICT (computer systems) installation and the move of the books and archives from the old library.
The Council, has declared the opening of the Library to the public will be on 3 September 2013. This is just in time for the 2013 Artsfest in central Birmingham with its influx of visitors – seems a good date!
The Birmingham Post reported on Wednesday that Mike Whitby said: “We are enormously proud of everyone who is helping to deliver the project on time and under budget.”
The moving of 1.5 million books and 24 kilometres of shelves containing priceless archive items will be carried out by international firm Nexus. They specialise in such major operations using approved suppliers to augment their services which they project manage. A similar high profile job already completed by them was the management and movement of 35km of books from Woolwich, London to the British Library Lending Division at Boston Spa, West Yorkshire. They say that “This remains the fastest major book move to date within the British Isles, and was at the time, the largest undertaken by the British Library.”
I have no doubts that Carillion will meet their target date as they have been on schedule and within budget right through the construction.
And, there’s a good chance that the 3 September date will also be met due to employing the right company, on paper, for the move.
However, there is a third unknown factor, in that the books and archives have been catalogued and packed by council staff since July 2011 ready for the big move.
Read more on this at the LOB website.
Transport Summit 2012 meeting on 15 March
Now you can view the presentations.
The Council has made available the presentations given at last week’s Transport Summit. These should give you some insight into what’s happening. Click on the presentation title to view it and, if you wish, right click on the displayed document to save it to your computer or print it:
Eastside Masterplan – David Bull, Assistant Director Development Strategy, Birmingham City Council
High Speed 2 – Andrew Went, Head of Engineering for Leeds, Manchester & Heathrow, HS2 Ltd
Vision for Movement 2 – Gary Taylor, Colmore BID and Glenn Howells, Glenn Howells Architects
LEP* Transport Strategy – Ann Osola, Transportation Strategy Manager, Birmingham City Council
Infrastructure for the City Centre Enterprise Zone – Anne Shaw, Transport Development Manager, Birmingham City Council
West Midlands Rail Strategy – Tom Magrath, Strategy and Commissioning Director, Centro
Airport – The Way Ahead – John Morris, Birmingham Airport
You can also download these from the Birmingham Transport Summit web page.
* LEP is the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership
I’m told that a download of the Metro Vision Brochure, mentioned in last week’s news, will also be available shortly from the same source.
Regal Tower is Downsized
The show piece tower for Broad Street has become victim of the depression.
The larger part of the building was to be a large prestige hotel serving the Convention District. It now appears that Premier Inns will be the tenant and the number of rooms reduced from 289 to 200 and hence reducing the height from 201 to 170 metres and the number of storeys from the original 56.
The down marketing of the hotel will probably also affect the quality of the proposed 256 serviced apartments and maybe other ground level and floor 1 features.
The Regal Tower would still be the highest building in Birmingham, and hopefully an enhancement of the prestige of the Broad Street area. Let’s hope we can get rid of the gentlemens’ clubs to help this.
No planning application is currently on the Council’s database.
News of Other Buildings
Progress has continued at a pace in the past 3 weeks – compare the photos above with those in Weekly News 02 Mar 12.
Island House demolished
In spite of the strenuous efforts of many heritage supporters Island House has been demolished. The building which has been compared to the Flat Iron Building in New York and built in 1902 in Digbeth has fallen foul of Developers. Great pity!
Number 2 Snow Hill is now as tall as Number 1
After building work stalled for two years because of funding problems, work restarted in mid 2011 and the progress has been phenomenal – no other word for it.
This is the place to move your offices to from other parts of the country – it’s very energetically supported by the Colmore Business District ( part of the BID – Business Improvement District initiative).
Old Orleans Pub
Plans have been scrapped for what was the Old Orleans pub at the corner of Broad Street and Sheepcote Street. It was to become a fast food place with international cuisine and has had notices outside advertising this for a long time. The building is now up for sale and I wonder if it will survive as it is not a listed building. It’s in need of a little TLC but has potential, I think.
Submitted by Geoff Caine