Report on future of West Bromwich's The Public to stay private

Sandwell Council has refused to publish a report commissioned to look into the future of The Public, as chiefs admitted a sixth form college was not among the options it put forward.

The Public in West Bromwich.

The authority spent £39,000 asking property experts Jones Lang LaSalle to investigate what they could do with the West Bromwich gallery last year.

As part of the review the firm was asked to look at potential uses for the £72 million building and its capacity, as well as undertake a structural assessment and look into how the building could be disposed of.

At the time the exercise was launched the council’s improvement chief Councillor Mahboob Hussain said the consultants would be looking at options for the building for when Arts Council funding ended in 2015.

A request was made to the council for the report to be made available under the Freedom of Information Act, but the authority said it would not be released as it ‘may prejudice the council’s commercial interests’.

It comes after it was revealed the council was set to sign a deal with Sandwell College to transform the building into a sixth-form college. The deal – under which Sandwell College and the council enter into a 25-year partnership – is due to be put to the borough council’s ruling cabinet on October 16.

Council leader Councillor Darren Cooper said he was not blocking the report’s publication as the authority had ‘nothing to hide’. After questions via Twitter however, he did reveal that the college option was not among those put forward.

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Comments for: "Report on future of West Bromwich's The Public to stay private"

Martin Jones

This has all the hallmarks of a monstrous scandal. Clearly a report commissioned at the cost of £39,000 must be made public. It is even more critical to reveal other options (including keeping it going under Sandwell Arts Trust) when the binding and final decision is to be made on October 16th. Perhaps some public spirited person can leak the findings if Darren won't be open with us? Otherwise we can only surmise that conversion to a college was ruled out because the building is unsuitable and would cost millions to convert. Keeping it as an arts centre with business and community use will turn out to be the cheapest option.


We have ‘nothing to hide’, we will simply not show you it, you cant beat transparency ?


Why not ask the local people!


Why not ask the local people!

angry labour voter

the reason it was never a proposal was I imagine that it was never even thought of because it would be so costly to realise and convert the place and not reduce the public subsidy this building continues to get (yet alone cost us all much more to do) it's just a cash guzzling giant. was demolishion a recommedation? if it was, why on earth do we have an expensive stitch up in the form of a college? because darren cooper has absolutey no idea how to run a council, that's why. this man is out of touch and his ideas and practices are tired and causing real damage and harm. come on sandwell, get rid of both of these liabilities, the public and cooper!!!!

martacus redd

If you have nothing to hide then publish the report

gurdit olick

Put a for sale sign on it open to sensible offers

gurdit olick

they never consulted any one did as they pleased i was there watched every move shut down businesses that had been thriving moved bus station that had never had accident in not like nqw if them that thought they knew itall had left bus station where it was people would have got off atNew street walked through shopping centre giving shops much needed trade but what do politicions know how the real world works

gurdit olick

is it not illegal to hide information from the public who paid for monstrosty