Town hall to be 'heart of the community'
PUBLISHED: 13:00 30 October 2011
THIS is what the new-style Weston Town Hall will look like when it is ready for staff to move into next summer.
A £9.7million investment will see the existing library in the Boulevard move into the Walliscote Grove Road building, along with the creation of a larger public area and a new internal atrium. It will be home to 50 per cent more staff than were previously based there.
Visitors will be able to access services such as Homechoice Lettings, revenue and benefits, taxi licensing, housing inquiries, planning and bus pass and disabled parking permits.
Work is ongoing at the Town Hall in order to make it one of two main council ‘hubs’, along with the authority’s new Castlewood office in Clevedon.
North Somerset Council says moving from a number of smaller, satellite offices will eventually save money and help with the major funding gap it has to fill over the next few years. Its head of property and asset management, Lyndon Watkins, says the project is ‘on time and on budget’.
He added: “Doing nothing was not an option, as the town hall needed £4.5million of remedial work and the Boulevard library £1million. This is a fantastic timescale for what has been achieved so far.
“By carrying this work out, in five years we will be able to realise even further savings.”
Council leader Nigel Ashton says he hopes the revamped building will become the ‘heart of the community’.
The new-look facility will offer extended opening hours, including weekends, and there are plans to hold evening and weekend events at the site.
In the library, customers will be able to check in and out their own books, thanks to a self-service system and there will be 31 computers for public use.
It will be 63 per cent bigger than the current facility and the young adults section will increase by 50 per cent.
Schools in the area are being contacted at the moment for their suggestions for naming different parts of the library.
Mr Watkins added: “This will be a modern library, fit for the 21st century.”
Staff are due to start moving into the revamped town hall in July, four months later than initial estimates.