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Posts Tagged ‘heritage

Get out. Your heritage has little value

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Local government reform in Birmingham has concentrated power in the hands of a politburo (‘cabinet’) with no effective checks-and-balances functionality. And so it has come to pass that the city’s “cabinet member for culture”, Liberal Democrat Councillor Martin Mullaney, has given Aston Manor Transport Museum six months’ notice to get out of its home, the old Aston tram shed, which is owned by the city council.

He said: “(Birmingham council’s) property department is regularly getting inquiries for the building from Asian wedding companies and retailers.

“On the open market, the property department believes they would easily be able to sell the lease for in excess of £900,000 – it has a sizeable car park next to it, remember.”

Coun Mullaney also stated: “We tried to offset the community value of the AMTM against the rent, but it’s (sic) value was calculated to be small.”

Mr Mullaney doesn’t explain what he means by community value, or how it was “calculated”. Most people in Birmingham don’t use its swimming pools, or libraries, so I suppose one might argue that their community value is “limited”, too. Given the enormous amounts that Birmingham city council has wasted over the years, cash from selling the old tram shed wouldn’t provide any real improvement for the city’s finances.

Sadly, such philistinism has been a feature of past council administrations as well. In the 1990s, the free-admission science museum was closed, and most of its collection placed into store. The remaining items were moved to a dumbed down ‘Think Tank’ exhibition within Millennium Point, with steep admission charges.

Written by beleben

August 30, 2011 at 3:08 pm