A public consultation on Stockroom, a 14,000 sq ft civic hub at Merseyway, showed “clear support” for the project, prompting the council to progress the relocation of the town’s library service from the much-loved Central Library.
Of those who participated in the consultation, 83% of people felt that Stockroom would breathe life back into empty retail space and 70% said having community facilities in an accessible/central location would be beneficial, according to Stockport Council.
However, some respondents raised concerns over the future of Stockport Central Library on Wellington Road, with some fearing it would be demolished or sold off if its services were moved to Stockroom.
The council is working with consultancy CBRE to draw up a list of potential future uses for the building, which has seen usage drop by 42% since 2012, according to the authority.
In addition, Stockport Council now plans to launch another round of consultation, specifically focussing on the relocation of the library services.
The consultation will run for eight weeks from 23 August.
Draft consultation documents seek to reassure the public that the building will not be demolished, sold, or redeveloped into housing.
“The council will seek future uses that would be sensitive to the historic nature of the building and would retain public access to the building,” the documents state.
A petition opposing the relocation has garnered more than 7,000 signatures so far.
The council maintains that the Central Library is not fit for purpose as a modern facility and would require significant investment of around £7m to repair and upgrade it, a sum the council cannot afford.
Critics of the library plan have also asked why the £14.5m awarded from the government’s Future High Streets Fund, earmarked for the creation of Stockroom, cannot be used to revamp Central Library.
The council claims that the location of the library, which is outside Stockport’s main high street, makes it ineligible for the funding.