This report will follow in an Additional Papers pack, once the report has been published for consideration of the Executive Committee.
The Interim Director of Finance presented the report in respect of the Town Hall Hub. During consideration of this item the proposals for the Redditch Town Hall were outlined for Members information. As had been discussed earlier in the meeting, the Town Hall was not currently being used to capacity and the proposals presented within the report included the potential for external organisations to rent space within the proposed Community Hub. These external organisations could potentially include representatives from the NHS and WCC. Also included in the proposals was a new Members’ Suite, which could be used for any meeting.
Officers reported that the cost of the refurbishment project would be £5.2m and would be funded by capital receipts and the sale of Council assets which had been valued by Savills as between £3.45m and £5.65m. Any timing differences could be funded through short term borrowing. It was further explained that revenue costs to run the Town Hall were currently £878k per year, however this amount would be significantly reduced, by approximately £400k as the other organisations would be responsible for some of the revenue costs in the future. Members raised that there was no mention of inflation rates included in the proposed costs.
Some Members felt that this was an excellent opportunity to half revenue costs for the Council by £400k going forward which would significantly help the Council’s present budget deficit and provide better value for money for Redditch and its residents. In addition to this, it was highlighted that Community Hubs were being established all over the country and that it was a great opportunity to create a vibrant workplace alongside wider financial and social benefits.
In respect of the relocation of the Library it was discussed that, as indicated earlier in the meeting that this was still to be agreed by WCC and would still be subject to consultation.
Although Members agreed that a Community Hub would be a good asset for the community, concerns were raised by some Members regarding the costs of the demolition of the current library combined with the costs of the Town Hall Hub and whether this was good value for money for residents. It was with this in mind that the following recommendation was proposed:
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee, having considered the report advises the Executive Committee not to proceed with this project as currently described in this report, which includes the provision of a Library, instead it advises to submit a further report for the re-purposing of the Town Hall update/ Town Hall Hub for community uses as described in the report but without a library.
On being put to the vote this recommendation was lost.
A further vote was then carried out in respect of the recommendations contained within the report and it was
RECOMMENDED to the Executive Committee that:
1) subject to the agreement of the Town’s Fund Library Business case, which itself is subject to the required public consultation, the Town Hall be repurposed as a Community Hub;
2) subject to approval of recommendation 3 below, authority be delegated to the Section 151 Officer and the Head of Legal, Democratic and Property Services to finalise and implement the community hub business case and to procure and appoint contractors to undertake and deliver the works;
The Executive Committee is asked to RECOMMEND that
3) building works on the Town Hall of up to £5.2m, (or reduced amount in the event that for any reason the Town’s Fund Library Business Case does not proceed to fruition) to be funded from Capital Receipts, for the purpose of remodelling the Town Hall in accordance with the Town’s Fund Library business case, be approved; and
4) the capital programme is increased by £5.2m to deliver these works.