Redditch Library moves on to next chapter as draft plan goes to committee - The Redditch Standard

Redditch Library moves on to next chapter as draft plan goes to committee

Redditch Editorial 7th Oct, 2022 Updated: 7th Oct, 2022   0

PLANS TO consult on moving the library into a bigger space at the Town Hall could move a step closer next week as councillors meet to discuss Redditch’s regeneration.

At the meeting of Redditch Borough Council’s executive committee, on Tuesday, October 11, members are asked to endorse the Draft Redditch Town Investment Plan Business Case.

This includes a proposal to move the library to the Town Hall which will be transformed into a Community Hub.

Plans see the library situated on the ground and first floors, with the Council Chamber and Civic suite being moved to the second floor of the building.

The site where the library is currently situated will include a new public plaza, events space, bars and restaurants.

The hope is the redevelopment will helping drive footfall from the Kingfisher Centre and improve connectivity with the town centre.

Redditch Borough Council leader Coun Matt Dormer said: “Since the pandemic which resulted in lots of our staff still successfully working agilely, we have been looking to ways to utilise the Town Hall, not only in a commercial way, but to best suit our residents’ needs.

“It is important the library remains accessible to our residents and, utilising an even bigger space, still offers all the services which are well-used by customers.

“As we move our own offices to other floors within our building, it releases the space on the ground and first floors for much-needed public services, making the Town Hall a vibrant and multi-functional ‘hub ‘space.”

A Redditch Labour spokesperson said: “It is our opinion – shared by thousands of residents – that the demolition of the town centre library is an expensive white elephant.

“There are many empty units in the town centre and so far we have seen no evidence we need to demolish the library to create three more.”


Overview and Scrutiny

At last night’s overview and scrutiny meeting, several members of the public gave their opinions regarding the plans, including expressing concerns that the library could become inaccessible to some if it was moved to the town hall.

Fears regarding the environmental impact of demolishing the existing library were also raised, as was the future of the library archives.

One woman described the positive impact the existing library has had on her life from her early years until today.

The overview and scrutiny chair Coun Bill Hartnett proposed two recommendations to the executive, with the first being not to endorse the business case and not to proceed with the project.

The stated reasoning included the ‘risks being too high and the financial returns being too low’.

The second recommendation to the executive was for it not to proceed with the project as described in the report, which included the provision of a library.

Instead, the recommendation advised that a further report be submitted for the re-purposing of the town hall upgrade and hub as described but without a library.

Both recommendations were voted against.

If the plans are endorsed, the proposal to relocate the library will be taken to Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet meeting on October 27 where the decision on whether to progress with a public consultation also being reviewed.


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