The battle in Stockport over the relocation of its library continues after a full council meeting last night voted to put the decision back to the council’s cabinet

The plans would see Stockport’s library service moved from Central Library on Wellington Road to a 47,000 sq ft civic hub which would also include a café used as a one-stop shop for council services including registering deaths and marriages and providing careers advice.

Opponents of the scheme which was agreed back in December by the cabinet want to retain its current location.When the scheme was put out to an online consultation wanted it to stay at its current location

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.”


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