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New £200 million public facility could mean curtains for Birmingham Central Library

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Architect John Madin’s Birmingham Central Library (pictured) could be demolished to make way for a new £200 million public library.

Architect John Madin’s Birmingham Central Library (pictured) could be demolished to make way for a new £200 million public library.

Birmingham City Council has appealed to culture secretary James Purnell for an Immunity from Listing Notice that will pave the way for the 33-year-old library’s demolition.

The local authority wants to replace the existing building – which has echoes of Le Corbusier’s La Tourette in Lyon, France – with the new library, plans for which are to be unveiled next week.

The council’s director of planning and regeneration, Clive Dutton, believes the building is no longer ’fit for purpose’ and has an estimated repair bill of £20 million.

Dutton said: ‘We have been developing plans over a number of years to replace the library with a new Library of Birmingham, a world-class centre for knowledge, learning and culture.

’The Library of Birmingham will not only be a state-of-the-art resource supporting Birmingham’s knowledge-based economy and reaching out in particular to children and young people, but it will also act as a major catalyst for the wider regeneration of the entire city centre and beyond,’ he added.

It is understood that The Twentieth Century Society is calling for the building to be listed after a previous bid in 2003 failed. However, Dutton believes this would be detrimental to Birmingham’s future plans for the area.

He said: ’If the existing Central Library were to be listed, it would have a catastrophic effect on the council’s plans for not only the Library of Birmingham – depriving local people of the world-class facility we feel they deserve – but also for the future redevelopment of Paradise Circus and the west end of the city centre.’

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