Fate of Stockport library decided
A long-running debate on the future of Central Library seemingly came to an end last night as the Labour-run cabinet stood by its decision to relocate the service to Merseyway.
With the library service moving to Stockroom, a 47,000 sq ft town centre hub located in vacant retail units at Merseyway, the Central Library building on Wellington Road will become the home of Stockport’s adult education service.
While opposition councillors supported the idea of creating a town centre public service hub, there was vocal opposition to the relocation of the library.
So much so that a full council meeting in January asked that cabinet to rescind the decision to move the library from Wellington Road into the town centre.
However, cabinet argued that opting not to relocate the library – which has seen user numbers drop by more than 40% in the last decade – could jeopardise the £14.5m Future High Street Fund award from government.
The library portion of Stockroom amounts to between 30% and 50% of the project and removing it would require the council to refresh its business case for the project, according to a report to the authority’s cabinet.
The delay this would cause could add an extra £1.5m to the cost of the project, the report added.
While cabinet voted last night to stick by its decision to relocate the library, members attempted to appease opponents by agreeing to set up a cross-party working group to explore the possibility of retaining a “linked library offer” in the building.
The working group must report back to the cabinet with its recommendations by 20 September 2022.