Library sell-off the ‘right thing’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 December 2010

Weston's historic library building will be sold off if the facility is absorbed by the town hall.

Weston's historic library building will be sold off if the facility is absorbed by the town hall.

Archant

COUNCIL bosses have defended their proposals to sell off Weston’s library and relocate the service to the Town Hall.

The Mercury reported last week how North Somerset Council plans to rehouse a number of services in the Walliscote Road building including the library, register officer and Choice Based Lettings Service.

The authority is proposing to spend £9.7million on renovating the building – but council leaders say this would tie in with £4million works the hall needs anyway if it is to be brought into an ‘appropriate state’.

The council says the renovation works proposed would mean around 900 workers would be accommodated in the Weston ‘hub’ – and ties in with the authority’s commitment to swelling job numbers in the town centre.

North Somerset Council’s executive committee voted in favour of pushing on with the plans at its Tuesday meeting – but the proposals, which are contained in the capital budget, will still go before full council for a final decision to be made.

Council leader Nigel Ashton said: “It is the right thing to do. If we didn’t invest in this building we would have even greater ongoing running costs.”

He said that the hall was ‘past its natural life’ and needed significant works, including rewiring and a new heating system, to ensure it is fit for purpose.

The plans are part of the council’s office amalgamation programme, which has also seen the purchase of Castlewood in Clevedon to merge ‘surplus’ offices into a ‘hub’ in the north of the district.

Deputy Leader Elfan Ap Rees said: “This is the right way to go to save money for residents by amalgamating.

“It is also in line with our commitment to maintaining and increasing jobs in Weston town centre.”

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