Long-held ambitions for a Monifieth Community Hub and Library are set to be realised.
The exciting project now proceeds to implementation following the agreement of Full Council at their meeting today, with construction due to start in September this year.
Elected members were told of the dogged determination and power of work that continues to be done, in the teeth of a cost-of-living crisis and increasing construction costs, to fully achieve the Monifieth Community Resource Group (MCRG) led initiative.
Council Leader Beth Whiteside told the meeting: “I’m delighted to welcome this report and in particular to approve the funding gap proposals. The MCRG have worked tirelessly for years to get to this stage and should be applauded for their determination, perseverance and, I don’t think they will mind me saying, their bloody-mindedness.
“Additionally, the partnership working between the Council, ANGUSalive and members of the group means that a solution has been found that is mutually beneficial and should help ensure the viability of the library provision in Monifieth for years to come.
“Indeed, should this model prove successful, as I am sure it will, this could be a template for how services could be delivered innovatively across Angus in the future.”
Years of work by MCRG to deliver a community hub facility in the town led them to identify a Council-owned site next the Blue Seaway Park at the shorefront. Funding of £250,000 was secured in late-2021 through the Council’s Place Based Investment Programme and was based upon original project cost estimate of £1.15m.
The project’s size and delivery cost increased, due to an opportunity to work in partnership and relocate Monifieth Library and ACCESS services to the new hub. Even with the addition of these services, there remains a steadfast emphasis that the new facility is very much a community-led initiative.
In common with many other capital projects, wider financial challenges have persisted and increased. So too has the importance of sourcing sufficient money to bridge a current £317,000 funding gap to ensure the project’s delivery.
Having heard the latest report on project implementation (Report No 191/23), Full Council noted the revised estimated construction costs, funding, running costs and income for the proposed Monifieth Community Hub & Library/ACCESS facility as well as risks, mitigations and project conditions.
Elected members approved the proposed £317,000 funding package comprises of £75,000 additional funds raised by MCRG; £136,000 from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund; a further £35,000 from the Place Based Investment Programme; £20,000 contribution from ANGUSalive (subject to approval by the ANGUSalive Board); and £51,000 from the Capital Receipt from the sale of the existing Monifieth Library.
“I can’t ignore the financial challenges of the project. However, despite the current economic climate, this Administration made a pledge to look at ways of doing things so as to protect, as much as possible, the services which are delivered by the Council.
“An investment in this new energy efficient building with agreement to share the space will bring benefits and efficiencies to both groups and help ensure the success of both.
“A facility such as this has long been needed in Monifieth and is keenly anticipated.”
The funding package will be monitored by the Council’s Finance Director, in consultation with the Council Leader and the Opposition Group’s Leader. A further report on the future of the existing Monifieth Library will also be presented in due course.
A 99-year ground lease from the Council to MCRG for the site of the new facility will be arranged with rent charged at £1 per year.
In relation to concerns raised about accessibility during a local public consultation, Councillors noted a proposal to include a bus stop for the local 78A and 79C services on south Street, near to the railway station. This is intended to help address concerns and provide a transport option to the new community facility.