Stockport Council has confirmed that the proposed move of library services into a new ‘One Stockport Hub’ is a temporary move to address the current challenges of opening Central Library and Stockport Museum due to Covid-19.
Last month, the Council announced plans to create a ‘One Stockport Hub’ and invited people to give feedback via an online consultation. Following the launch of the consultation a number of concerns have been raised by residents about the future of the Central Library building.
During the presentation of the proposal at Cabinet on 6th October, Cllr Tom McGee, presenting the paper, clarified that a decision has not been made in respect of any proposals for the future use of Central Library and any permanent move of services from the Central Library building – for example as the result of a successful Future High Street Fund bid – would be subject to further consultation.
Located in Mersey Square, in a unit formerly occupied by Argos, the Hub would provide a cultural and social experience, including a library service, in the heart of the town centre for both Stockport residents and visitors.
Library services currently located at Central Library on the A6 would be provided from the One Stockport Hub, in a move that would mean the service would be more accessible to shoppers and visitors.
In light of feedback received during the consultation process, the council has clarified that the move to Mersey Square would be a temporary measure, due to the difficulty of providing a covid secure environment at Central Library. Making Central Library covid secure is challenging due to the size and layout of the building, which does not lend itself to a number of measures that would need to be implemented to ensure visitor safety, and the increased staffing required to provide a Covid-secure service.
Cllr Tom McGee, Deputy Leader of Stockport Council said:
We have had a great response to the consultation so far and I would like to thank those that have taken the time to provide us with valuable feedback.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we have added FAQs to the consultation, which clearly state that the relocation is a temporary solution. I would like to apologise if this has led to any confusion. I want to be very clear that we are not proposing to permanently cease provision of library services at Central Library, which is why the consultation does not include questions about the future of the Central Library building.”
Cllr Kate Butler, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focus and Engagement, whose portfolio includes the libraries service and museums, said,
One Stockport Hub represents an opportunity to bring together a number of services in a central location, with high footfall, near to transport and parking whilst Covid continue to affect the way in which we can deliver our usual services.
“Across the UK library usage is declining and we want to see more people taking advantage of our library offer. We also want local people to continue to experience our rich local history. This temporary location provides an opportunity to wider awareness of, and access to, these important services.”