Stockport’s town centre library services are to move from the current Central Library on the A6 into converted empty shops into the Merseyway shopping centre, funded by the government’s Future High Streets Fund (FHSF).
Stockport Council hopes that the move will “breathe new life into vacant retail units and bring thousands of visitors back to Stockport town centre as other, similar developments up and down the country have done”.
It cites the success of Chester Storyhouse as an example, were the library, café, and community facilities attracted almost 800,000 visitors in its first year after opening in 2017 and children’s book loans increased by 50%. In contrast visitor numbers to Stockport’s current Central Library have fallen more than 40% over the past 10 years and book loans have also dropped significantly.
Stockroom will be five times larger than the existing Central Library building enabling the council to expand the library service and put in a café, a performance area and a sensory room.
The council has yet to decide what to do with the old Central Library. Five options are on the table, including making it a primary healthcare facility, a new home for the coroner’s court, new community enterprise space or a co-working/shared workspace.