Advanced Manufacturing Hub Birmingham

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Value for Public Money

Advantage West Midlands and the Homes & Communities Agency have spent 12.75 in land acquisitions, 1.168m in demolition costs and 522,000 in professional fees since December 2006.  These figures do not include the staff costs incurred in 6 years of planning or the imminent purchase of the historic King Edward public house which is to be demolished to make way for junction improvements.  The HCA values the land at 6.86m (approximately 340k per acre) representing a net loss to the taxpayer of at least 7.58m.  However looking at the most recent significant land transaction in the area which was less than 200k per acre, the loss could be nearer 10m

If the Council were to go ahead and compulsory purchase Concentric Park Industrial Estate the cost would run into several more millions to buy the land, demolish the buildings, compensate the occupiers, etc. resulting in even greater losses.

There is a danger that regardless of the other considerations raised the Advanced Manufacturing Hub could become another example of a well intended public sector initiative becoming a white elephant.  It seems that with suitable private sector developments immediately available the Council should be promoting those and disposing of it's land as soon as is reasonable without incurring further major costs and endangering businesses and jobs.

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