Stockport Council provides assurance as Central Library consultation gains pace

More than 800 people have responded so far to the consultation on the Council’s proposal to move Town Centre library services from Central Library into Stockroom.

The consultation runs until the 18th October and the Council is keen to encourage as many people as possible to have their say before the closing date.

Over the first two weeks of the consultation, the Council has received comments about the proposal from a wide range of forums. After considering these comments there are some aspects of the proposal that the Council would like to provide assurance on.

The Council is keen to give reassurances that any move of library services from the current building into Stockroom would not lead to a diminished or reduced library offer.

Stockroom will be larger than a football pitch, offering five times the floor space of the current Central Library. The new Learning and Discovery space would have capacity for at least 20,000 books as well as better access to digital services, support and advice and adult learning opportunities that will help people to achieve their full potential.

Stockroom’s size means it will be able to provide more space, more services, longer opening hours and more things to do.

Stockroom will be located on Merseyway, along Adlington Walk and will redevelop former retail space formerly occupied by retailers such as Mothercare, Topshop and Next. Breathing life back into vacant shop units will help to improve footfall and the vitality of the space, better supporting shops and businesses across the town centre.

The Council also wants to assure people that the Central Library building will not be demolished or abandoned in the future. Prior to the consultation starting, the Council pledged to retain public access and not sell the freehold of the building or redevelop it for flats or any other residential use. This position has not changed.

The Council has committed to safeguard the Central Library building, regardless of the outcome of the consultation, but the £14.5 Future High Streets Funding cannot be spent on the existing building. The rules governing the funding mean it must be spent it on supporting the High Street and repurposing vacant retail space.

It is not possible for the Council to fund a major redevelopment of the Central Library building, and at present, there are no external funding streams available for the level of capital investment the building requires.

Cllr David Sedgwick said “We continue to listen to people about this proposal and we want to hear as many views as possible from a broad cross section of residents.

“We think it’s critically important to arm people with the correct information so they can make a balanced judgement based on facts.

“A number of misconceptions appear to have emerged so we need to set the record straight. We don’t want residents to miss out on an opportunity for better services and facilities for Stockport due to unfounded rumours.

“We want to ensure that the people of Stockport play a key role in shaping the future of our facilities and services as the town emerges from Covid-19 pandemic.”

The Consultation process runs until 18th October and the Council is keen to hear from as many people as possible.

Stockport residents are encouraged to find out more about the proposal and share their views via this link: www.stockport.gov.uk/haveyoursay.