Old library still needed for community use - says town council
PUBLISHED: 10:00 22 June 2014
PUTTING pressure on North Somerset Council to release Weston’s old library is the next step towards save the building for community use, according to town councillors.
Businessman Richard Nightingale abandoned his plans to buy the Boulevard landmark last month, and now members of Weston Town Council are trying to form an action plan for the site.
Early plans involved Mr Nightingale handing the North Somerset-owned building over to the town council for members to use, and to create a community hub – something councillors still want to see happen.
Town and district councillor Mike Bell said during the town council’s policy and finance committee meeting that the group Voluntary Action North Somerset (VANS), which was involved in early conversations with Mr Nightingale, has been trying to identify grant opportunities.
He said: “They (VANS) would obviously be keen to see the town council continue as a partner. I do not think they have any idea of what they would do apart from purchase the building and use it for the community.
“The other thing we should be looking to do, to try and save the building for community use, is put pressure on North Somerset to consider releasing the building for community use at no cost.
“We know central and west wards are deprived communities and despite the work at the Town Hall there is a lack of facilities and resources.”
After a year of discussions with community groups and North Somerset Mr Nightingale pulled out, voicing disappointment that plans came to nothing. The historic building will now go up for sale on the open market - leading to the possibility of housing conversion.
Committee chairman Peter Crew recommended a meeting should be set up with North Somerset and the town council’s working party to find a way forward.
He said: “We did not pull out in any way, because of budget constraints we did not think it was wise to spend money to put our own offices in there.
“But we will still be involved and are prepared to be the landlords or caretakers – we have not backed away from that.”
Cllr Bell added: “If left to its own devices North Somerset will not be beating the drum for community use and it’s up to us to do that.”