Give us back our library - Weston councillor urges
PUBLISHED: 09:00 03 June 2014
WITH authorities scratching their heads over what to do with an unused Weston landmark, one councillor has urged colleagues to ‘hand it over’ to the town.
Lack of viable interest has seen businessman Richard Nightingale abandon plans to buy the old town library in the Boulevard, which he had hoped to donate as a town council and voluntary services hub.
However, Richard Tucker, who is the Labour group leader on North Somerset Council - the authority which owns the library building - has criticised the apparent lack of enthusiasm for saving the building, and suggested the council should ‘hand it over’ before it becomes ‘an eyesore’.
Cllr Tucker, who also sits on Weston Town Council, said: “At the end of the day there has to be willingness from those leading the town and those in power to back it financially – like the Tropicana.
“There hasn’t been that will unfortunately, so it is up to the public and if they would be willing to pay more.
“It is the same as Birnbeck, which has been privately owned for years – it has all been pie-in-the-sky private ventures that never seem to turn into anything.
“It just keeps happening. There are two eyesores already in public ownership which could be redeveloped with council financial backing. If you are a councillor from Nailsea, Clevedon or Portishead they might not care about it in the same way as Weston people do.
“Hand it over to the town and let it be resolved locally with the town council, if ratepayers will put their hands in their pockets and meet them halfway.”
The saga began when the library moved into the Town Hall two years ago and ideas were put forward to use it as a community hub.
Last week, Mr Nightingale admitted defeat with the plans after a year of discussions with charities, community groups and North Somerset came to nothing.
Cllr Tucker said: “Once the survey was carried out and the extent of the costs was revealed the whole project went cold.
“In these times of Government cuts and grant cuts everything comes down to funding.”
The building, which was designed by Weston architect Hans Price, will now be put up for sale on the open market – which could mean it is used for private housing.
Cllr Tucker said: “It would be disappointing to lose a long-standing public Weston building like that, which was built for local people. It would be a great shame.”