Posted on Thursday 15th July 2021
An artist's impression of what the new library could look like
Burton residents can have their say on proposals to relocate the town’s library to the Market Hall at a series of events beginning next week and online.
The Burton Town Deal Board has secured £22.8m of the Government’s Towns Fund money. The library proposal is one of seven connected projects that aim to revitalise the town centre economy, bringing more footfall and businesses into the town centre.
The Towns Fund offers a once in a generation investment in the town – from central Government and at little additional cost to local taxpayers – to help the economy recover from the pandemic and respond over the long-term to people’s changing shopping habits.
The library proposal would see state-of-the-art facilities transform the Market Hall and help to preserve an important part of the town’s heritage. The building would house a range of community services, including support available for small businesses, exhibition and flexible performance space, meeting rooms, a café and more. Increased visitors to this area of town would also help to regenerate Market Place and bring in new businesses.
If the library were to move to the town’s Market Hall it would also create the opportunity to regenerate the current library site as a key part of the major waterfront retail and leisure development the Town Deal Board plans to create fulfilling a long-term ambition of many local people for a “marina style” destination for the town.
Next week, the first in a series of public events takes place throughout the town. A public question and answer event will be held at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium on August 4 along with drop-in and booked timeslot sessions throughout the eight weeks. People will also be able to have their say online before the consultation period closes on September 10. People are being asked about what they think about the proposed relocation, the library service and how it could be improved.
The schedule of events is as follows:
• Monday 19 July, 10am to 12.30pm - Tutbury Mobile Library, Duke Street Car Park
• Thursday 22 July, 10am to 1pm - Market Hall, Burton
• Friday 23 July, 10am to 12.30pm - Branston Mobile Library, Clay Lane Pavilion
• Monday 26 July, 10am to 12.30pm - Stretton Mobile Library, St. Mary's Church Hall
• Thursday 29 July, 10am to 12.30pm - Rolleston Mobile Library, Rolleston Club
• Saturday 31 July, 10am to 1pm - Coopers Square Shopping Centre
Focus group events at Burton Library – these need to be booked and 12 spaces are available for each:
• Tuesday 20 July: 1pm to 1.30pm
• Tuesday 20 July: 1.45pm to 2.15pm
• Tuesday 20 July, 2.30pm to 3pm
• Tuesday 20 July, 3.15pm to 3:45pm
• Tuesday 3 August, 1pm to 1.30pm
• Tuesday 3 August, 1.45pm to 2.15pm
• Tuesday 3 August, 2.30pm to 3pm
• Tuesday 3 August, 3.15pm to 3.45pm
There are 50 places available for the event at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium on August 4 which must be booked. It takes place from 7pm to 8.30pm.
People can book on the events now at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/burtonlibraryconsultation and fill in the online survey at the website from Monday.
Staffordshire County Council aims to emulate the success of library service transformation in other towns, including Lichfield, Stafford and Newcastle. By moving from its current site, it is projected that the new facilities would see increased visitor numbers – closer to the town centre, college and bus services.
By bringing the library and other services together under one roof, there would be substantial cost savings for local council taxpayers. Furthermore, this site would be vital to wider regeneration plans and support the transformation of the Market Place area.
The move would also provide a long-term home for Burton library which is currently based in a building constructed in the 1970s that will require further investment from council taxpayers if it is to continue in use.
If given the go-ahead by central government, the project would receive a £6.7million allocation from the national Towns Fund.
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for communities and culture Victoria Wilson said:
The consultation events will give people the opportunity to ask questions and have their say on the library proposals. We’ve aimed to locate them across the town so they’re as accessible as possible. If people can’t attend any of the events, they can still complete a survey online. This engagement process will help us to shape the new library service if we do go ahead.
The Towns Fund proposals do offer us an opportunity to use central government funding to begin a once in a generation transformation of Burton town centre and modernise our library and community services. The library project is one of a series of exciting proposals to breathe new life into Burton and regenerate the town centre and it’s important that people understand how they’re linked.
Restoring a valuable heritage building in the Market Hall and giving the building a secure long-term future will help to preserve it for generations to come. The move will also bring more people to the Market Place outside, offering opportunities to new and existing businesses in what is currently an under-used part of the town centre.
As a county council we have a strong track record in library service transformation and modernisation and aim to emulate the success of the projects in Lichfield, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stafford which have proved hugely popular in those communities. We want to offer the same quality of facilities to the people of Burton.
Relocating to the Market Hall, in addition to bringing in other services such as an enterprise hub, will increase visitor numbers to the library and surrounding area. It is closer to the town centre, the college and public transport routes. Doing nothing is not an option – the library service needs to modernise to reflect community needs today.
We look forward to speaking to people from across Burton so that they can have their say as part of our public engagement process.”
Ben Robinson MBE, chairman of the Burton Town Deal Board, added:
The library and enterprise hub project is one of seven which forms part of our Town Deal proposals.
It’s a fantastic opportunity to improve and preserve the heritage Market Hall and provide first class community facilities in a more suitable and easily accessible location. This would be a big project for the town, so we want people to have their say.
By bringing more people in to this part of town we can attract more businesses and enhance the market square as a visitor destination.
This will also support our plans to develop the area next to the Washlands to make it more appealing for visitors including developing leisure facilities and improve connections to it from the town centre. Together they contribute to our vision for Burton as a forward-thinking town that can utilise our many assets and heritage features as part of its regeneration.”