Redditch library's future comes under scrutiny at Town Hall meeting - The Redditch Standard

Redditch library's future comes under scrutiny at Town Hall meeting

Redditch Editorial 25th Oct, 2022   0

THE FUTURE of Redditch’s library was scrutinised by the County Council today, with proposals to relocate the service to the Town Hall as part of a Community Hub.

The proposals are part of the Town Plan Deal led by the Borough Council.

The County Councils overview and scrutiny meeting was held at the Town Hall to allow Redditch residents to have their say, and public speakers voiced their disapproval of the plans.

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




He added the cash that would be spent for the move was an ‘astronomical amount’ and could be better spent elsewhere, describing the proposed demolition of the library as a ‘white elephant’.

One woman said the plans would have a ‘detrimental impact on Redditch Library’ and questioned why anyone would ‘move the second most used library in Worcestershire down the hill for more coffee shops’.


Another man said the ‘iconic 1970’s building’ shouldn’t be lost, adding he ‘knows how much Redditch history means to the people of the town’.

Other residents pointed to existing empty units in the Town Centre as a reason not to add more bars in the library buildings place, but Redditch Borough Council leader Coun Matt Dormer said shops were empty because there was ‘no flow in the town centre’.

“The plans will solve this issue, will help to attract more shops and businesses to Redditch and improve the nightlife in a way that wouldn’t currently be possible.”

Other residents raised concerns as to the future of the Redditch archives.

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 will be moved to the Town Hall.

When quizzed about what can be done to keep these archives accessible to Redditch residents, Hannah Perrott said she was ‘keen to listen to people’s thoughts and feelings and didn’t want the archives locked away for no one to see’.

The proposal to relocate the library will go before Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet on Thursday, which will decide whether to progress with the next – public consultation – phase.

The consultation would start on November 7 and run for just over 90 days until February 24, 2023.

County Councillor Richard Udall asked whether any proposed consultation would be conducted independently.

The meetings chairman Coun Tom Wells said the County Council ‘were as capable as anyone else to carry out the consultation in a fair, very open way.’

Hannah Perrott said any consultation would be completely accessible to the public so everyone would be able to have their say, while the report of the findings would be published for residents to see.

 

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