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Decision set to be taken on proposed new library and community hub in Burton

Posted on Tuesday 7th December 2021
Library visual 1

How the library could look if the Market Hall move goes ahead.

A decision on whether to move ahead with proposals for a new library, community and enterprise hub in Burton’s Market Hall will be taken by the county council’s cabinet next week.

The project is one of seven connected projects that aim to revitalise the town centre economy which form part of the Burton Town Deal programme. The Burton Town Deal Board has secured £23.8m of the Government’s Towns Fund money in December 2020.

If given the go-ahead and its business case is successful, the project would receive a £7.3million allocation from the Towns Fund allocation. Over the summer, an eight-week public consultation programme was carried out, including group, online and drop-in sessions, a public meeting and an online survey.

Both the Town Deal Board and East Staffordshire Borough Council, which owns the Market Hall building, have backed the proposal subject to the business case being agreed. If it goes ahead, the borough council would take possession of the current library building, with the site used for future regeneration as part of the Towns Fund programme and could include a new visitor centre on the Washlands.

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 an enterprise centre for small businesses, exhibition and flexible performance space, meeting rooms, a café and more.

The 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. The project would also support the transformation of the Market Place area.

Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for communities and culture Victoria Wilson said:

We have for many months now set out the reasons behind the proposed library move and conveyed these through our comprehensive public consultation and engagement programme.

These include the ability to restoring a valuable heritage building in the Market Hall and giving the building a secure long-term future. In addition, it would bring more people to Market Place outside, offering opportunities to new and existing businesses in what is currently an under-used part of the town centre. The proposals would allow us to effectively move other county council functions into the building and provide services for small businesses.

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.

We do of course understand this proposal has been met with strong public opinion and many have voiced concerns and objections. This must be carefully considered against anticipated benefits for library users and wider town centre regeneration, and potential loss of funding from central government should it not go ahead. We can assure people that cabinet will have a robust and detailed discussion before making what will be a difficult decision.”

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Contact the newsroom

These contact details are for journalists and members of the media only:

Email: pressoffice@staffordshire.gov.uk
Call: 01785 895050

If you are not a journalist or member of the media and have a general enquiry please:

Email: contactus@staffordshire.gov.uk
Call: 0300 111 8000

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