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Email: enquiries@dickensheathpc.org.uk

Parish Council Move to the Library

Update on Parish Council Offices at Waterside

You may well soon notice that the Parish Council Offices at Waterside are up for sale – as the Parish Council are planning for a move in to the library. This will not be a surprise to those who attend Parish Council meetings or who read agendas or minutes posted on our website – the debate has been in the public domain since February 2018. Following many discussions with Solihull MBC library officers, at their June 2018 meeting the Parish Council decided unanimously to relocate to the library. Their reasons for this decision include sharing the costs of the building to ensure the future of the library, to move the Parish Council to a more central location, and to potentially create more of a community hub within the library building in the future. The decision on what to do with the Parish Offices was taken at the July 2018 meeting – where there was a majority decision to sell.

In terms of those who currently use the Parish Rooms (for which there is no charge) – the Parish Council have had this in mind all of the time that a move to the library has been considered. Although the rooms have been regularly booked for weekday evenings, the majority of the time at weekends and during the day the rooms are unused. At the current moment there are just 6 regular bookings with around 3 ad hoc bookings. The rooms are not suitable for public bookings such as parties, and are not deemed to be suitable for young children due to all the glass and automatic doors. It is just not a very good community premises, and not a good use of public funds. Most of these users can move with us to the library. There are just 2 community groups that can’t be accommodated at the library for health and safety reasons – U3A Table Tennis and the Youth Group. The Parish Council has been discussing an alternative venue with both of these groups for a while. Parish Council minutes going back to March 2017 detail discussions about the Youth Group potentially relocating to Dickens Heath Sports Club – these include one of the Youth Group’s concerns being addressed (car park lighting installed) and Borough Councillor Richard Holt presenting a petition for pavement to be extended out to the Sports Club. Youth Group leaders at the time had seemed keen to move to a space with opportunities for outside activities. The U3A Table Tennis Club have in the last month successfully relocated to Dickens Heath Sports Club and the Parish Council had really hoped that the Youth Club could also do so.

In terms of transparency, the potential move to the library has been published on agendas (on our 2 notice boards as well as the website), minutes (on the website) and openly discussed in meetings since February 2018.

For the future, Solihull MBC and Dickens Heath Community Primary School have plans that are well underway for a community facility at the school – and this will include opportunities for youth activities.

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