Library faces uncertain future as it goes up for sale again
PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 March 2018
Weston-super-Mare’s historic former library building is going back under the hammer at auction – for double the amount its owners paid for it.
The Mercury reported in October how the owner of the old Hans Price library, in the Boulevard, was taking another look at the plans as its scheme had not proved to be ‘economically viable’.
Land and Buildings Limited paid £250,000 for the site at an auction in 2014 and secured planning permission to turn the library into 22 apartments at the beginning of 2017.
At the end of last year, it was considering amending its plans to create up to 26 apartments, but instead the library is going back up for sale at auction, with a £500,000 guide price attached.
Company director Richard Farrow told the Mercury: “We have spent a great deal of time trying to find an economically viable solution for the old library.
“Despite having an ‘all enquiries’ board on the library to see if a local builder/developer may be interested in working with us on this project we have had no success to date.
“The only potential interest we have had on the building is from an affordable housing operator, and we believe North Somerset Council is not keen on this use.
“We did approach North Somerset Council requesting an amendment to the number of apartments as we felt some are too large for the Weston market.
“The council suggested a further full application would be required, involving significant time and money, and on this basis we have concluded the site is not economic for us.
“We discussed this with an agent and reluctantly concluded we needed to find another local developer who may be willing to invest new energy, take this site on and restore it.
“We felt the open market auction route was the best way of securing this.”
The listing by auctioneers Hollis Morgan suggests a developer could make £3.57million in profit once the 22 flats, and seven car parking spaces, are sold.
It is a listed building, and the work will involve building an extension over the third floor to create a fourth level, demolishing single storey extensions and creating a new facade at the back.
The old library, was designed by Hans Price during Queen Victoria’s reign.