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Redditch Library Consultation

The Redditch Library Consultation is an opportunity for us to share the proposed library relocation plans with Worcestershire / Redditch residents and community organisations so that both groups can provide their views and make suggestions.

Background

In June 2021 Redditch Borough Council secured a historic investment of £15.6 million Town Deal funding which will help fund ambitious new projects for the town. The funding represents one of the single largest government investments in Redditch since it became a new town in the 1960s

As a result of this funding, a group of projects are being proposed to boost the productivity and economy of the town, promote innovation and digital transformation, enhance the look and feel of the public areas and provide increased green and connected town centre spaces.

One of the priority projects being proposed is for Redditch Library to relocate from its existing site to Redditch Borough Council Town Hall. This relocation will result in the redevelopment of the current Redditch Library site to make way for a public square, a café pavilion and further commercial developments.

The Proposal

It is proposed that Redditch Library relocates from its existing site to Redditch Borough Council Town Hall, which is a short walk away from its current location. Worcestershire County Council and Redditch Borough Council believe that Redditch Library provides an important service to residents and community groups within the town, and therefore have specified that if the library were to be relocated:

  • Library floor space will remain equal to or similar to the current library space
  • The library service will remain accessible to all
  • The library service will not be reduced

The proposed plans for the relocated library are to deliver a new community ‘one stop’ venue in the refurbished Town Hall, providing residents with flexible access to a variety of services. The new ground floor entrance will become the focal point of the building with clear signposting to enable public and staff to easily use the facilities which include:

  • Ground floor library service and shared space with open plan entrance, event and display area, soft seating, book displays, refreshments customer service pod, book collections public computers and study tables, children’s library, young people’s area, Business and IP Centre (BIPC) area meeting room space and space for community group use
  • First floor library service space for book collections, and further public computers, study tables and meeting rooms.
  • Second floor further meeting rooms including large council chamber for multi-agency use
  • Lower ground floor dedicated for partners and third parties to use

For more information about the Redditch Library relocation see the Redditch Borough Council website.

Have your say

Please provide your thoughts about the proposed relocation of the Redditch Library by following the link and completing the voluntary survey:

Complete a survey

By completing this voluntary survey you agree to your responses being collated, processed and analysed by Worcestershire County Council. All information provided will be held in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and used only to inform our proposals for library change.

The closing date for responses to this consultation is 24 February 2023.

Paper versions of the Redditch Library Consultation Survey are available and can be requested by calling 01905 822722, by emailing RedditchLibraryConsultation@worcestershire.gov.uk, or by visiting Redditch Library where paper surveys are available.

Redditch Library staff can also support you with completing the survey online if you wish

Frequently asked questions

Why is Redditch Library being relocated?

In June 2021 Redditch Borough Council secured an investment of £15.6 million Town Deal funding, which will help fund ambitious new projects to boost the productivity and economy of the town, and enhance the look and feel of public areas by providing increased green and connected town centre spaces.

To help deliver these projects, it is proposed that Redditch Library relocates from its existing site to Redditch Borough Council Town Hall, where the current library site will be redeveloped into a public square with café pavilion and further commercial developments. For more information, please visit: Redditch town centre proposals - redditchbc.gov.uk

Why is it being proposed that Redditch Library relocate to the Town Hall rather than another location in Redditch? 

As a result of implementing more agile/virtual staff working since the pandemic, Redditch Borough Council requires significantly less space at the Town Hall site.

The relocation of Redditch Library and other public sector organisations to the Town Hall has been proposed to make best use of vacant space and create a community service hub for Redditch, which will be convenient for residents. For more information, please visit: Redditch town centre proposals - redditchbc.gov.uk

Which other public sector organisations will be located at the Town Hall?

Organisations that are confirmed to be located in the Town Hall are Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), Cranstouns (a charity that supports those with drug and alcohol addiction) and the NHS, with others to be confirmed in due course.

Will DWP relocate to the Town Hall?

This is yet to be confirmed.

What are the plans for the existing library site once the library has relocated?

The existing library site will be used to create a new public plaza and events space, including bars and restaurants, helping drive footfall from the Kingfisher Centre and improving connectivity with the historic town centre. For more information, please visit: Redditch town centre proposals - redditchbc.gov.uk

What is Worcestershire County Council’s role in the library relocation? 

Worcestershire County Council has a statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service to residents. Therefore, in order to support the proposed relocation of Redditch Library from the current building in Redditch Town Centre into a new Community Hub at Redditch Town Hall, Worcestershire County Council must be satisfied that the relocation will not adversely affect library service provision in Redditch.

When a significant change is being proposed to a service, Worcestershire County Council may decide to formally consult with the public to get their opinions on the proposal. From 7 November 2022 until 24 February 2023, Worcestershire County Council will carry out a public consultation to gain residents’ opinions on the proposal to relocate the library before any final decision is made, taking into account the feedback received during the consultation process.

If a decision is made to progress the library relocation, the town development, including all building works and demolition, will be led by Redditch Borough Council. 

Are any savings being made by moving the library to Redditch Town Hall?

Worcestershire County Council is not seeking to make any savings through the proposed relocation of Redditch Library to the Town Hall. If the relocation goes ahead, we expect there to be investment in new library furniture and fittings, book stock and equipment.

Will the library continue to offer all the services that it currently provides in the new location? 

Yes, if the library relocates to the Town Hall, all library services provided from the existing library site will continue to be provided from the Town Hall, including computers and printers, study desks, seating, meeting rooms and meeting space. 

Both Worcestershire County Council and Redditch Borough Council believe that Redditch Library provides an important and highly valued service to residents and community groups within the town, and therefore have specified that if the library were to be relocated:

  • library floor space will remain equal to, or similar to, the current library space
  • the library service will remain accessible to all
  • the library service will not be reduced

Will staff lose their jobs? If so, how many job losses do you estimate?

No library staff will lose their jobs as a result of the relocation. 

Will library opening hours be changed? If so, do you have any more detail?

Redditch Library opening hours will remain the same if the relocation goes ahead.

There is potential to increase opening hours by implementing Libraries Unlocked at Redditch Library. Libraries Unlocked is a new service from Worcestershire Libraries, which offers longer opening hours and more flexibility for customers and community groups to use their local library at times that are convenient to them.

New technology allows customers or community partners with Libraries Unlocked membership to enter the library using their library card outside core opening hours, and to use library services or library space independently when staff are not present.

Libraries Unlocked was introduced in Droitwich and Stourport libraries in June 2022, and early signs are that it has been well received by both library customers and community organisations.

Over the coming months we will review performance data and feedback from customers, partners and staff to inform proposals for further implementation of Libraries Unlocked. 

These proposals will be considered separately to the consultation on the proposed relocation of Redditch Library.

Do you expect visitor numbers to increase/decrease when the library is relocated?

The experience from other Worcestershire library relocations is that visitor numbers increase following the relocation of a library. We would expect this to be the case if Redditch Library relocates to the Town Hall.

We expect the location of other organisations, alongside Redditch Library, at the Town Hall site will contribute to and help to maintain this increase in visitor numbers. 

To ensure the library is easy for customers to find in its new location, Worcestershire County Council has specified that, if the library relocates to the Town Hall, it will have visible design links and directional signage links within the new public realm space in Redditch Town Centre, to integrate the library into the wider town centre scheme and ‘lead’ residents to the library.

Will parking be available to library customers at the Town Hall?

A decision on the availability of parking facilities at Redditch Town Hall will be made by Redditch Borough Council once there is greater clarity on which services will be located in the building.

Who makes the final decision on the relocation of the library? Is it a political decision or officer-led? 

Following the completion of the public consultation, the proposal (along with the public’s feedback) will go back to Cabinet who will make the final decision.   

Will the proposed changes be based on the public and stakeholder consultation or has the decision already been made? 

Prior to any decisions being made we will complete a 90-day public consultation to gain the thoughts of residents about the relocation of the library. Worcestershire County Council are committed to holding an independent, open and transparent consultation. We encourage members of the public who wish to have their say on the proposal to engage with the consultation survey and events.

Following the completion of the consultation, the results will be analysed and a Cabinet paper written. This paper will be reviewed by our Overview and Scrutiny Panel before going to Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet, where the Members will review and make a final decision. The results of the survey and all reports will be publicly available.

How do you think these changes are going to affect vulnerable groups such as the elderly who access library services daily?

An initial Equality Impact Assessment and Public Health assessment screening of the proposed relocation has been undertaken, and no adverse impacts on particular groups have been identified.

The proposed designs for the relocated library place the service predominantly on the ground floor of the building which can be accessed from street level, with lifts also being provided as part of the proposal. However, feedback on the impact of proposals on residents is being sought as part of the consultation, and will be used to support further assessment and inform final decisions. 

Will Worcestershire County Council receive any money from the Town’s Fund for this activity?

No, Worcestershire County Council will not receive any money from the Town’s Fund for this activity. Please refer to Redditch Borough Council’s Executive Summary Papers, which outline how the money will be used during this activity: Redditch town centre proposals - redditchbc.gov.uk 

What will happen to the archives at the library?

Storage space is available at the Town Hall for archive and local history material, and other library collections. 

Archive holdings at Redditch Library are being reviewed by the County’s Archivist with a view to identifying the best way of recording, storing, and conserving archives, and options for retaining access for local people. 

Other non-archive material held in the Redditch Library basement is also being reviewed by the library service, to ensure that it reflects library stock policies.

An opportunity will be provided for local people and local history groups to share their views on the archive collection as part of the consultation.