Bigger scheme to turn old library into more flats under consideration

PUBLISHED: 10:56 28 October 2017

The library, pictured in 2011, before North Somerset Council moved its service to the Town Hall.

The library, pictured in 2011, before North Somerset Council moved its service to the Town Hall.

Archant

The financial 'challenge' of bringing Weston's historic former library building back into use has forced its owner to relook at its plans.

Land and Buildings Limited (LBL) paid £250,000 for the Boulevard site at an auction in November 2014 but has told the Mercury this week it has been looking into its resale value.

The firm obtained planning permission from North Somerset Council to turn it into 22 apartments at the beginning of the year, however that breakthrough has not been sufficient to get building work underway.

MORE: Homes at old library will help fit town’s redevelopment ‘jigsaw’.

Instead, LBL is considering amending its plans to make the project more financially viable.

But the firm says it is committed to bring the old library building back into use and is appealing for experts to come forward with ideas.

Company director Richard Farrow said: “It has been a challenge to make the scheme work economically and we have been in discussions with leading local estate agents David Plaister on resale values of the development.

“During these discussions we considered it may be useful to put an ‘all enquiries’ board on the library to see if a local builder or developer may be interested in working with us on this project and would respond.

“We are open to any ideas which would create an economically viable solution.”

While 22 flats are permitted at present, the scheme may go back before the council’s planning officers at some point in the future.

MORE: Old library sold at auction in Clifton.

Mr Farrow said: “We are also looking at the feasibility of rejigging the layouts and amending the planning to create up to 26 apartments.

“We remain committed to being involved in this project and bringing this to a successful conclusion for all.”

The old library, which was designed by Hans Price during Queen Victoria’s reign, has been out of use since it was closed down in 2012 when Weston’s new-look Town Hall and library opened.

Other projects LBL has been involved in over the years includes building homes off the A370 in Congresbury near Tesco Express on the former Bell Inn site.

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