Statement on Stockroom

The decision to relocate library services at Central Library to Stockroom was discussed at a Full Council meeting on Thursday, 13 January.

A motion was passed to refer the decision back to the Cabinet. Cabinet will now take time to reflect on council comments and reconvene in February.

Cllr Elise Wilson, Leader of Stockport Council, said: “Delivering a new library, learning and discovery space using £14.5m of Government money is a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform Stockport town centre, breathing new life into vacant retail units and transform how people live and learn in Stockport.

“Unfortunately, we have to face facts. The way people learn has changed dramatically since Central Library was built more than 100 years ago, as has the way people shop and use town centres since the advent of online shopping and the acceleration of online retail caused by a global health crisis.

"We simply cannot ignore the huge decline in usage of the current Central Library building which has seen visitor numbers almost halve in eight years - falling from more than 200,000 people a year in 2013 to less than 120,000 visitors a year while book loans by young people have similarly plummeted.

"Locating the town’s main library in Stockroom would start to reverse this decline, expanding the library service offered – together with a new café, leisure and learning facilities, makers and performance spaces - all in the heart of a shopping centre where people already go to meet and spend time and in doing so bring thousands of visitors back to Stockport.

"But we also know that Central Library is a unique asset which is cherished and that is why we have already pledged to safeguard it's future and committed that it will not be demolished, abandoned and that public access for this much-loved part of Stockport's heritage will be retained. I am grateful to all those residents, stakeholders and Councillors that have put forward their views so far on this very important decision and my Cabinet will take time to further reflect before we reconvene in February.”