Mr Dutton steps out from the shadows to take an interest in Edgbaston
There can be no doubt that alarm bells are ringing loudly at Birmingham Council House, given the very real possibility that Warwickshire County Cricket Club's application for a ÃÂ£32 million makeover of its Edgbaston stadium will be rejected by the city planning committee.
You know things are serious when council strategic director of regeneration Clive Dutton emerges from the shadows to take control.
Dutton, who is as close to council leader Mike Whitby as it is possible to be, took the unusual step of emailing councillors and MPs to tell them the cricket club had submitted an amended application for Edgbaston scaling down proposals for hotels and leisure-based development.
The club's attempt at compromise followed the planning committee's decision to defer a decision on the initial application.
The email stated: "The club are reducing the scale of their enabling mixed-use development by cutting the following from their scheme: 2,520 sq m of hotel floor space, and 2,280 sq m of leisure floor space.
"In total this represents a cut of 15.9 per cent of their commercial floor space, and 9.3 per cent of their total mixed-use scheme, which as you know, also includes a residential element."
Mr Dutton continued: "The club have also given me assurances they are to establish a permanent and regular liaison group with the local community to enable ongoing discussions about the ground and its impact on the local community. This was another of planning committee's concerns.
"In addition I believe I may also be able to persuade the club to adopt a controlled parking zone in some of the streets near the ground for the permanent benefit of local residents (ie not just on match days).
"Given the scale of the club's reductions, I am now undertaking a further 21day period of public consultation, and you should receive the standard
notification letter shortly.
"Given the significance of this scheme, however, and the local concern it has generated, I wanted to personally let you know of this latest development."
Well, wasn't that good of Clive? Going out of his way to keep councillors and MPs in the loop and taking it upon himself to negotiate with the club over possible parking controls.
Much good it may do him, though.
The proposed revisions are regarded as significant by Mr Dutton, but residents groups and local councillors do not agree.
They have described the changes as minor and say they do nothing to address concerns about noise, glare from floodlights and additional traffic on local roads that will be generated by the expansion of the Edgbaston ground.
The meat of the club's proposal - new stands, floodlights, new pavilion, media centre, hospitality facilities along with housing, hotels and leisure facilities on land fronting the Pershore Road - remains the same and it seems unlikely, based on the previous comments of members, that the planning committee will grant approval when the application returns next month.
But you never know, since the behind the scenes political pressure from Coun Whitby and the cabinet will be intense.
If Edgbaston doesn't get its makeover and floodlights, the ground may lose its test match status - depriving Birmingham of millions of pounds worth of spending power by visiting cricket fans, not to mention the loss of kudos when Manchester and Leeds continue to stage televised international cricket.
Coun Whitby is letting it be known that he regards it as unthinkable that Edgbaston ceases to be a venue for major cricket, so much so that he is willing to lend Warwickshire County Cricket Club ÃÂ£20 million of council money toward the ground improvement scheme - even though an auditors report poured cold water on the club's business case and concluded that projected profits are probably exaggerated.
Even the Chamber of Commerce has weighed in with dire warnings about the consequences of saying no to the club.
I expect Mr Dutton to put in a stellar performance when the planning committee next consider the Edgbaston application.
Who can ever forget his passionate plea in favour of the British Land Tower in Colmore Row, where committee members were given the distinct impression that refusal would deliver a savage blow to the Birmingham economy and send the wrong message to prospective developers across the world. The committee, which had previously been scathing in its condemnation of the skyscraper, duly granted planning permission.
Clive Dutton is paid a huge amount of money to oversee regeneration in Birmingham. He is about to earn his corn.