Agenda item

Call-in of Executive Decision CAB339 'Future High Street Fund - Stockroom' (E&R76/ RCG43)

(Executive Decision Record and report enclosed)


The call-in of this decision was considered by the Corporate, Resource Management & Governance Scrutiny Committee on 4 January 2022 which agreed to refer the decision to the Council Meeting for debate.


The Council Meeting subsequently resolved to object to the permanent removal of library services from Stockport Central Library and referred the decision back to the Cabinet to reconsider its final recommendation.


The Cabinet is asked to reconsider its previous decision in relation to the ‘Future High Street Fund - Stockroom' in the light of the resolution of the Council Meeting as follows:-


“This Council Meeting objects to the permanent removal of library services from Stockport Central Library under the “Future High Street Fund – StockRoom” decision (CAB339).


“This Council Meeting notes:


·         the public consultation conducted by this Council found a majority of respondents were against the permanent removal of library services from Stockport Central Library;

·         petitions with over 8,000 signatories received by this Council opposing the move; and

·         the formal recommendation made by three scrutiny committees not to proceed with the move.


“This Council Meeting believes that:


·         Cabinet should rescind the decision to move Central Library from its current location to Merseyway;

·         This Council should proceed with StockRoom, keep Central Library open and seek clarity with the Department of Levelling Up on the formal change procedure to vary the final mix of uses and spend profile; and

·         a cross-party working group should be established to review and secure the long-term viability of Central Library in its historic home.


“This Council Meeting requests that the decision is referred back to Cabinet for reconsideration along with the opinion of this Council Meeting as set out above.”


Officer contact: Damian Eaton on 0161 474 3207 or email:


A report of the Council Meeting was submitted (copies of which had been circulated) inviting the Cabinet to reconsider its previous decision (CAB339) in relation to the Future High Street Fund - Stockroom. Council Meeting considered the call-in of this decision at its meeting on 13 January 2022, the summary of which was included in the report.


The following comments were made/ issues raised:-


·         There had been a significant and useful debate held at the Council Meeting on this issue.

·         The matter remained a decision for the Cabinet to determine.

·         The Cabinet had previously agreed that it would like to see the Stockroom project continue and that there remained a discussion in relation to the future long-term use of the Central Library building.

·         The broad agreement between members on the continuation of Stockroom project was welcomed.

·         The proposals had always kept the security and future of the Central Library building at its heart.

·         There was an opportunity to invest in the Central Library building, take care of it for the future and make it accessible.

·         The revised proposals commit to establishing a cross-party working group to discuss the future of the Central Library building.  It was suggested that this should include representation from those members that represented the Brinnington & Central ward.

·         The Cabinet remained open to the possibility of having an adult education centre in the Central Library building with a relevant library provision as part of that.

·         Stockport was one of the few authorities to have been awarded the full amount it had bid for as part of its Future High Street Fund application.

·         Central Library had seen a significant reduction in footfall whereas other newly developed library facilities in Tower Hamlets and Chester had increased their visitor numbers.

·         It was noted that there were approximately 11,000 adults in Stockport who had trouble reading and a new adult education centre would help address this issue.

·         The development of a library facility in Stockroom would be the biggest investment in libraries in Stockport in living memory.


It was then



RESOLVED – That the objection of the Council Meeting be noted and that approval be given to the amendment of the original decision of 7 December 2021 and the Cabinet has therefore:-


(1) Noted the update on progress with Stockport’s Future High Street Fund project, Stockroom and approve the proposals.


(2) Noted the recent consultation undertaken in relation to the relocation the town centre library offer from Central Library Building into Stockroom.


(3) Noted the views, comments and recommendations of the Communities & Housing; Corporate, Resource Management & Governance; and Children & Families Scrutiny Committees and the opinion and recommendation of the Council Meeting.


(4) Resolved to approve the proposals as set out in the Cabinet report of 7th December 2021 in relation to Stockport’s Future High Street Fund project, Stockroom, including a modern library offer. This is to be delivered in line with the Outline Business Case set out in Section 11 of the report.


(5) Confirmed that the Central Library Service would remain in the Central Library Building until a date linked to the opening of Stockroom, recognising the need for some transition during which the Library Service may not be fully available in either location. This is currently anticipated to be Autumn 2023.


(6) Agreed to establish a cross-party working group with representation from all groups on the Council, no later than 28 February 2022, to develop proposals for relocating the Continuing Education Service into the Central Library Building whilst retaining a library offer with the following terms of reference:


(i)            any solution for retaining a library offer linked to the Continuing Education Service in the Central Library Building must come with a business case which covers how any revenue and capital costs associated with the solution will be funded;

(ii)          no additional capital or revenue costs can be imposed on the Stockroom project as a result of any recommendation of the working group.

(iii)         a solution must demonstrate the benefits which it will provide in addition to those provided by Stockroom; and

(iv)         the working group must report back to Cabinet with its recommendations by 20th September 2022 to allow any decision to be implemented in time so that it might come into effect aligned to the proposed opening date for Stockroom.


(7) Agreed to instruct the Director of Development & Regeneration to write to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to update on progress with the Stockroom scheme.


(8) Agreed to delegate authority to the Deputy Chief Executive (Corporate and Support Services) and the Director of Development & Regeneration in consultation with the Cabinet Members for Citizen Focus & Engagement; Resources, Commissioning & Governance; and Economy & Regeneration to:


(i)            appoint a contractor to deliver the refurbishment works and execute any necessary letter of intent or other agreement, pending resolution of the final contract, to maintain progress in connection with the redevelopment of Stockroom;

(ii)          take all necessary steps to implement the strategy set out in the report and the resolutions contained within this decision; and

(iii)         approve the final Operational Business Plan for Stockroom.


(9) Agreed to delegate authority to the Strategic Head of Service (Legal & Democratic Governance) to do all things necessary or incidental to the implementation of these resolutions.

Supporting documents: