A NEW Community Hub bolting straight onto the Kingfisher Shopping Centre is just one of the hopes of Council Leader Matt Dormer under the Redditch town centre regeneration plans.
Such a hub could contain a new town hall as well as other public service organisations like a new Library, Job Centre, Police, Health Services and possibly the Fire Service.
“The land at the back of the Kingfisher is a redundant site and we could build a new community hub over what could be a covered market similar to the old food hall,” said Councillor Dormer.
He was speaking after Monday night’s full council meeting when the regeneration proposals, first brought to council by Labour when they were in power, were unanimously backed by all councillors.
This delegates authority to council bosses to talk to architects and key partners and draw up consultation plans to push the scheme forward.
“The Town Hall is definitely a priority, said Coun Dormer.
“At the moment it’s like a sequence of building blocks and to me one of the easiest steps to take is what to do with the police station.
“We’re waiting for something to happen there and that will then free up that space.”
He added the council would look to retain ownership of the Town Hall as a source of income if and when an occupier could be found.
“We have to be more commercial – we have to think at some point that government funding will stop and we have got to be more sustainable,” said Coun Dormer.
Coun Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill) who first brought the town centre proposals to council back in March 2018, said: “All this doesn’t rest solely with the council.
“We want to see the consultations done as quickly as possible and we need to get all the partners together around the table to get get this project started.”
Four Quarters are envisaged: Station and Residential, Education and Enterprise, Retail and Leisure, and Public Sector and Cultural.
The authority is already in the running for up to £25million from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund while other sources like the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership will also be tapped as possible funding sources.
It is hoped that such a commitment from public investors might then be enough to attract the private sectorto see the work through to its completion.