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Abandonment of athletes' village project in Perry Barr

August 12, 2020 11:32 AM

City group leader Cllr Jon Hunt says the council has paid for overreach and failing to heed warnings from many sources.

Cllr Jon Hunt, councillor for Perry Barr and leader of Birmingham City Council Liberal Democrat group, said: "Abandoning the use of Perry Barr for the athletes village represents an astonishing failure for the City Council. City leader Ian Ward and some of those advising him should consider their positions.

"Even without the virus it has been clear for some time that the project was unaffordable and an increasingly poor use of public money.

"As a ward councillor and leader of the Liberal Democrats I have had concerns about this project for the last two years as it got bigger and more grandiose and increasingly was imposed on Perry Barr rather than being seen as an enhancement to the existing community.

"We are now promised a full review of projects and yet Cllr Ward insists that his transport projects will go ahead. He should immediately announce that he is abandoning the demolition of the Perry Barr flyover which will have a devastating impact on the local economy and access to jobs just as people are trying to get back to work over the coming months.

"If Cllr Ward wants to regenerate Perry Barr he needs to work with the local community not against it."

Some facts about the finances:
The £90 million shortfall reported earlier this year was the tip of the iceberg.
The shortfall was eliminated by putting off significant costs past 2022.
The economics of the village development require the new properties to be sold at an average price of around £250,000. Very few have been allocated for social housing, which is desperately needed to solve the city's housing crisis.
If they cannot be sold the cost to the public purse of the project soars, potentially by hundreds of millions. The chances of selling them at this price have now fallen significantly as it looks like large tranches of office accommodatin in the city centre may be abandoned and converted to apartments following the shift to home-working.
The transport project is being funded by money for housing from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Since the start myself and my ward colleague Cllr Morriam Jan have led the campaign against the demolition of the Perry Barr flyover, organising the 15,000 signatures of objection on-line and off-line.

What is needed now:
The project needs to focus on providing social housing and extra care village facilities on the former Birmingham City University site. There is now call now for the extra-dense development of Perry Barr that was proposed and the road network and the local environment can both be improved without the major disruption currently proposed.

The council must announce it is abandoning the demolition of Perry Barr flyover as soon as possible, Proceeding with demolition will have a devastating impact on the local economy as it seeks to recover over the coming winter.