What has happened to Birmingham?


Birmingham is working very hard in succeeding to make its cultural centre a no-go area.
For many months the access to Symphony Hall, the Central Library, the Repertory Theatre and the Town Hall has been forbidding. How to locate the bus stops and the taxi ranks has been off-putting enough.
Now we are chirpily advised of a diversion to pedestrian access to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which will only take a few extra minutes. I'm sure the elderly and infirm (among which I include myself), and those dependent upon wheelchairs will take comfort from that advice.
Heaven knows what all this is for. Victoria Square was beautifully clear for a life-enhancing Indian festival last Sunday. Centenary Square is now open, with a rubbish design and layout which cannot attempt even to touch the sandal-latchets of the original paving-tiles and the amazing Forward sculpture; what happened to all those plans for a below-ground-level auditorium for the library? But people can't get there!
Access is so discouraging. I cannot remember the last time I drove my car into the centre of Birmingham, partly because of the bewildering diversions, and partly because of the ridiculously money-grabbing cost of parking.
I have loved driving into the centre of Birmingham for over half-a-century. I used to feel such a thrill being at the heart of what was once a great city. Now I avoid it as much as possible, and TOA Taxis, bless them, are doing really well out of it.
Christopher Morley

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