Council asking residents to have their say on controversial plans to move Redditch Library - The Redditch Standard

Council asking residents to have their say on controversial plans to move Redditch Library

Redditch Editorial 27th Oct, 2022   0

COUNTY council chiefs have confirmed Redditch residents will be able to have their say on the controversial bid to move the town’s library with the launch of a public consultation.

Cabinet members at Worcestershire County Council approved a three-month consultation into the proposals to move the library to the Town Hall.

The consultation will get under way a week on Monday (November 7) and will run until February 24 with a full report of findings to be made available for public viewing.

Coun Marcus Hart, cabinet member for communities, encouraged residents to have their say and promised there would be ‘no reduction in library services or space’ as a result of a relocation and the library would remain fully accessible.

His comments were echoed by Redditch county councillor Mike Rouse, who also serves as cabinet member for highways and transport.

“This is a chance for people to take a closer look and let us know if this is something they support for their town,” he said.

“I personally would argue they should support it. Redditch has a history of being pioneering and I would call on them to be pioneering today.”

The relocation proposals are part of the Town Plan deal led by the Borough Council, with the library becoming part of a ‘community hub’ within Town Hall. Under the plans, the existing library site will be demolished.

Speaking at the meeting, Borough Council leader Coun Matt Dormer said the relocation and subsequent removal of the library building would improve the footfall and flow into the centre and will help to fill up empty shops.

The decision follows a scrutiny meeting at the Town Hall on Tuesday (October 25) when local residents and councillors voiced their opinions on the issue.

Labour leader Coun Joe Baker said it was ‘clear Redditch residents don’t want the library moved’ and highlighted several petitions to save the building including one he said had gained 500 signatures in two hours.

The Batchley and Brockhill councillor labelled the proposed demolition an ‘expensive white elephant’ and questioned whether the ‘astronomical amount’ of cash needed to fund the move could be better spent elsewhere.

One local resident questioned why anyone would ‘move the second most used library in Worcestershire down the hill for more coffee shops’, while another described the library as an ‘iconic 1970’s building which is an important part of the town’s history and shouldn’t be lost’.

Concerns were also raised over documents from Redditch’s archives becoming inaccessible to residents if taken to the county’s archive in Worcester.

In response, Hannah Perrott, assistant director for communities, said on the advice of experts some of the archives ‘would be better stored within the Hive’ in Worcester while others would be moved to the Town Hall.


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