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Rogers' library in doubt as Tories spark Brum renaissance rethink

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Birmingham's massive regeneration programme, including the Richard Rogers Partnership's new central library, has been left in turmoil following a change in political control at the city council.

The Conservative group, which together with the Liberal Democrats took power in the city last week, is expected to announce a review of proposals on the massive Eastside regeneration area.

Senior Tories have vowed to reassess urban renaissance programmes in the city after claiming that the former Labour administration, headed up by Albert Bore, had kept them in the dark about detailed planning.

Concerns over the future of major projects first came to light after Conservative regeneration spokesman Nigel Dawkins last month promised that all major development proposals would be put to a public vote (AJ 27.5.04).

The official policy running up to the recent local elections was that developers on all 'major projects' would be forced to provide local voters with more than one architectural solution for every site.

The AJ also understands that last week's change in power has put a spanner in the works for Associated Architects' plans for a new Royal College of Organists' headquarters building in the city, which was on the verge of starting on site.

The new Development Control Committee chair David Roy, a Tory, said that they would have to have 'another look' at the Eastside proposals.

'When we were in power we used to be very open with all regeneration plans and keep all members on side, but this cannot be said of Labour in the last few years, ' said Roy.

'We have said all along that we need to look at all the deals that the council has done, including for the library, because we are suspicious of the way the land has been packaged up, ' he added.

And a source in the planning department told the AJ that there was a definite change in attitudes.

'Obviously we have to reassess where we stand and have a lot of meetings with the new people in charge.We are hopeful that things will progress, but there will be a change in attitude, ' the source said.

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