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Forget London bias and site stadium in Midlands

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Letters

I was staggered by the bias shown towards the London bid for a national stadium at Wembley in your article (AJ 16/23.8.01). The reference to both Midlands bids were negative and inaccurate. While you focussed on one MP's comments, you failed to admit that 42 MPs in the House of Commons have supported the 'bring it to Birmingham' campaign.

It is perhaps worth reflecting on the efforts of the architectural and design community in the south on the most recent project of similar notoriety - the Millennium Dome - a complete fiasco in design terms from start to finish.We witnessed a variety of architectural and design practices exploiting the commercial opportunity that this project offered through public sector funding; they then presented us with an embarrassing building and an interior that lacked cohesion, innovation and, ultimately, customer appeal. Yet again, the issue of logistics was completely ignored and an opportunity to create a world-class celebration for the millennium was missed.

In parallel to this, we have already seen the initial Wembley bid, based on the hedonistic wishes of architects, designers and developers in the south.

Again, it did not meet the financial parameters, and this is why we are in the current mess.

Siting the national stadium in Solihull is the obvious location, in terms of infrastructure and satisfying the commercial objectives of the scheme. In addition, the Midlands has a proven trackrecord of delivering world-class facilities on time and to budget.

The NEC, the International Convention Centre and the National Indoor Arena are all recent examples of this.

Wembley and 1966 are history for most of today's footballing public, and it is time we woke up and recognised that commercial and pragmatic issues, such as accessibility, and satisfying the budget and project programme, should now feature strongly for the benefit of all football fans.

David Walkind, by e-mail

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