Town Hall Hub
The Leader of the Council presented a report on the subject of the Town Hall Hub. Officers were thanked for their hard work on the report, particularly the Interim Section 151 Officer and the Head of Legal, Democratic and Property Services. The report formed part of ongoing work on the regeneration of Redditch town centre.
During consideration of this item, Members raised the following points:
· The length of time that had passed since the Council first started to consider regeneration of Redditch town centre as part of work on the One Public Estate project, which was debated by Council in March 2018.
· The range of public services that would be accommodated in the Town Hall Hub.
· The extent to which it would be appropriate for the central library in Redditch to relocate to Redditch Town Hall to form part of the Hub.
· The level of public support in the local community for the relocation of the library to Redditch Town Hall.
· The consultation that had already been undertaken by Redditch Borough Council in respect of proposals for the regeneration of the town. Members commented that public consultation had taken place in 2020/21, although the forms of consultation available at that time had been restricted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
· The public consultation that was in the process of being undertaken by Worcestershire County Council as the lead authority responsible for the provision of Library Services.
· The potential for there to be a vibrant public sector hub without the library being moved into the Town Hall.
· The risks to the Council involved in working on the project, including the relocation of the library.
· The potential challenges for the Council, in terms of the external auditor’s expectations following the issuing of the Section 24 Notice, should the works at the Town Hall fail to be delivered on time and on budget. Members were reminded that the Section 24 Notice related to the non-submission of the Council’s 2020-21 accounts and not to financial sustainability.
· The fact that the introduction of a public sector hub in the Town Hall formed part of the regeneration plans for the town, which also included redevelopment of the railway quarter and establishing an innovation hub.
· The impact that the relocation of the library might have on the area in the town centre where the existing library was located.
· The extent to which the Council and partner organisations would be able to attract businesses, including restaurants, to the public square area that would be created as part of the plans, should the library be relocated.
· The disposal of Council assets and whether this had the support of the public.
· The benefits to residents arising from the NHS and Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) renting space in the Town Hall.
· The future location of the Redditch archives should the library be relocated into Redditch Town Hall.
· The condition of the current building in which the central Redditch library was based.
· The fact that there was no guarantee that the ... view the full minutes text for item 57