Redditch town centre proposals
A new community hub is part of improvements to Redditch town centre. Here's more information!
- The hub and plaza redevelopment
- Frequently asked questions
- How it could look
- The 'Regenerating Redditch Masterplan'
- How Redditch Town Deal works
- Links to further resources
The hub and plaza redevelopment
The new community hub is linked to a related ‘plaza’ redevelopment proposed off nearby Alcester Street.
They are linked via the Town Investment Plan from the Redditch Town Deal Board (more info on the Town Deal is below). Amongst other things, the Town Investment Plan secured government funding to regenerate what were the soon-to-be former sites of the library and police station.
With services eyeing moves into money-saving, modernised, shared premises, the intention was to line up funding so that if and when they moved, their old sites could be regenerated and breathe new life into Redditch town centre.
Plans to do just that were backed under a £15.6m Town Deal funding award from the government, which included over £4m for the library site (and over £8m for the police station site).
The county council did subsequently decide to move the library into shared premises, and it will now join the borough council, NHS and other services at the new community hub at a transforming Redditch Town Hall. There's more on that below.
As such the funding is already in place to help turn the site the library will leave behind into a brand new and improved area of public realm, new retail, and other opportunities, to better connect the Kingfisher Shopping Centre and Church Green areas and boost the town.
|Why do this at all?
|Helping the town centre is one of the council's key priorities. Significant government money was available to support Town Deal proposals, which would be money coming in to Redditch.
|Why this specifically? What about various other things that want doing instead?
|As set out in the Town Improvement Plan, these are deliverable proposals and part of a larger regeneration programme that includes other projects: redeveloping the train station, public realm on Unicorn Hill, the police station, and so on. The plaza proposal met the Government's specific criteria to be eligible for Towns Fund money, and was awarded the money.
|The library isn't broken, so why fix it?
How to provide library services is up to the County Council, which has decided to have a new library in the hub. The Town Deal Board has secured the money to regenerate the library site.
|What would the new library service look like?
|That is up to the county council, but the space for it in the hub is set to be slightly bigger than currently, and with even more other services in the same building than at present. It would be accessed much like the current Town Hall, only better.
|Why at the Town Hall? Why not somewhere else?
|It's an ideally situated, highly accessible, public building owned by the borough council, with space available there since some council back office staff started working remotely. It already hosts other tenants than the council and became the logical place to develop the long-discussed community hub.
|Why spend money on the Town Hall?
|To create the community hub capable of providing great services to another generation of residents and visitors, which also reduces pressure on residents' Council Tax bills by saving money.
|Why redevelop the library site?
|To make that part of Redditch town centre much better than it is now, and not leave a vacant site once the library moves.
|Why make any new shops when there are empty shops now?
|Because the proposal is about much more than just new shops. It's to create a well-connected regenerated central plaza, a type of shopping and town centre environment that Redditch currently lacks. This would create new opportunities that do not currently exist in the town, while linking up the existing old and new town areas. The whole idea would be to create the conditions that not only bring new types of business to Redditch, but improve economic activity across the town centre as a whole.
|How long would it take?
|Hard to say unless and until decisions are made, but we must move quickly because the Government requires the money to be spent injecting life into towns as soon as possible.
|How much would this cost?
|The community hub is a borough council project of about £6.2m, which the council is funding by selling other surplus property and public borrowing. It will then create substantial annual cost savings compared to the costs of current premises arrangements. The plaza on the other hand would be a more commercial development, and is subject to more work, but the Government has provided over £4m to support it.
|Where do I see this and the other regeneration proposals?
|See the Town Deal Board's website. The borough council is lead partner in that partnership, as the planning authority, but very little of this work is by the council alone.
|What process would alternative proposals for the Town Deal funding have to go through?
|The government requirements and eligibility criteria are set out in the Town’s Fund prospectus (November 2019) and guidance documents (June 2020):
“The overarching aim of the Town’s Fund is to drive the sustainable economic regeneration of towns to deliver long term economic and productivity growth. This will be done through [several intervention themes], including urban regeneration."
The library redevelopment falls under the urban regeneration theme which is aimed at “ensuring towns are thriving places for people to live and work, including by: increasing density in town centres; strengthening local economic assets and site acquisition, preparation, remediation, and/or development."
"Projects submitted under the regeneration theme must deliver at least one of the following outputs: Delivery of quality residential or commercial space in key locations: town centres, gateway areas, employment sites); delivery of new public spaces; remediation and/or development of abandoned or dilapidated sites”.
How it could look
The community hub
The community hub is seeing the Town Hall remodelled to include multiple services. The NHS parts are already complete.
Elsewhere across the project, the library will take up most of the building. The council chambers where public meetings are held will go upstairs in a new central circulation lobby, as will council staff. And other parts of the building will include other services too.
There will be shared rooms not dedicated to any occupier, which would be available for use by community groups.
The point of the hub is to invest in a renewed facility for people to easily access multiple tenant services in one place, and which is significantly more efficient to run.
The area that would be left vacant by the library move could be transformed using the Towns Fund money secured for this purpose.
A new public plaza and events space with associated commercial development and opportunities would improve connectivity between the Kingfisher Shopping Centre and Redditch's historic town centre.
This could include bars, restaurants and more.
The 'Regenerating Redditch Masterplan'
These projects are part of a wider plan by a range of partner agencies all working together to improve Redditch under the Redditch Town Deal.
Here is an aspirational flythrough through artists' impressions of the vision and ambitions of the partners, across all five proposed regeneration sites in the plan: the railyway station, the connecting public realm up Unicorn Hill, the connecting plaza on Alcester Street where the library would vacate, the Community Hub, and the Digital Manufacturing Innovation Centre where the police station has vacated.
Please note that these videos are conceptual and for visualisation purposes only. Design aspects are subject to change.
How Redditch Town Deal works
Redditch Town Deal is a regeneration partnership. It is managed by the Town Deal Board which is made up of local businesses, both borough and county councils, the MP, and various other agencies. As the local planning authority, the borough council is the board’s lead partner.
Launched in 2020, the purpose of the Town Deal Board is to enable Redditch to apply for and use the Government’s Towns Fund to deliver a range of town centre regeneration proposals.
In 2021 the board secured £15.6m for regeneration in Redditch town centre with a Town Investment Plan. This includes over £4m for the proposed plaza redevelopment, amongst others.
For more information, see the Redditch Town Deal website in the links to further resources section below.
Links to further resources
- 8/2/21: TIP-top plans put forward for Government consideration
- 13/1/22: Leigh loves Redditch!
- 22/2/22: Town Hall budget set
- 5/10/22: Plans To Move Library To Bigger Space Will Be Discussed
- 1/12/22: Moves to create a community hub gather momentum
- 7/12/22: Take a Virtual Tour Of Proposed Plaza Plans
- 20/7/23: 'Key' library vote welcomed
- Full Council meeting where community hub decision was made
- Worcestershire County Council's Cabinet decision on Redditch Library
- Worcestershire County Council's (closed) Redditch Library consultation
- Redditch Town Deal website