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International Birmingham library competition plans dropped

City council makes a U-turn and scraps plans for worldwide competition due to fast-tracked project developement.

Birmingham City Council has scrapped plans for an international competition to decide who will design the city’s £193 million central library and theatre scheme.

Due to the development of the project being fast-tracked through an intensive 26-week period, city bosses decided against a full-scale trawl to speak to ‘the world’s best architects’.

It is understood that architectural firms will instead be invited to respond to the bidding process once an OJEU notice is published.

The decision flies in the face of council leader Mike Whitby’s comments when he launched the project two weeks ago.

Whitby said: ‘I hope the world’s finest architects will compete to design this prestigious development at the heart of one of the world’s best-known cities.’

According to the Birmingham Post, his comments were later clarified during a cabinet meeting by city regeneration director Clive Dutton.

‘We are not recommending a full international design competition,’ Dutton said.

Instead, the council will be asking ‘selected architects’ and that process will involve ‘casting the net internationally’.

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