County and District Councils unveil plans for new library for Mansfield
Nottinghamshire County Council and Mansfield District Council have unveiled proposals for a new state of the art library facility for Mansfield residents.
The plans are announced after several months of partnership working between the two councils. The proposed £10.5 million new library development would see the building at the rear of the Town Hall taken down and replaced with a brand new modern library building.
The scheme not only depends on the Councils making funding available and on input from local people, but also on approval from other bodies such as English Heritage and on agreeing a new use for the existing library.
Cabinet Member for Culture and Regeneration at the County Council, Steve Carroll said: "Mansfield District Council approached us when we were looking at refurbishing our current library at the Four Seasons Centre. When they told us about their regeneration plans for this area of the town we were really excited about the prospect.
"A feasibility study has been undertaken which shows that the scheme is possible and subsequently concept plans have been designed by Mansfield District Council's architects. I'm looking forward to discussing what would truly be an iconic building for Mansfield with my fellow councillors on 11th September at our Council meeting."
The proposed new library would provide 2,000 sq metres of space which would accommodate all of the front-facing public services along with space for other essential functions. There would also be space to retain a Learning Centre, a Youth Centre and a café. The new build would link through to the historic Town Hall and any major events could be held in the current large meeting room space.
Tony Egginton, Executive Mayor of Mansfield said: "The Mansfield Library project is an example of partnership working at its best and it has been a privilege to work alongside our county colleagues in getting this project off the ground.
"While we still have a number of hurdles to get over, this project is a significant part of a wider regeneration of the area, which also includes the redevelopment of the former Queen's Head public house and of course, the fantastic new bus station and transport interchange."
The proposed new library offers a number of advantages over its current location:
· greater visibility. Whilst the existing library is well located in the shopping centre, it is almost invisible externally to passers walking by.
· the ability to locate a significant element of our core lending services on the ground floor.
· the new building would have a very real wow factor that could not fail to draw people in
· all plant, fittings, furnishings and facilities would be brand new
· services would be better-organised, more logically located in relation to each other and stock presentation would be dramatically improved.
· access would be significantly improved. This would be in sharp contrast to the present building where wheelchair users are effectively stopped from accessing any of the upper floors if the lift is broken.
· the new library would be a much more efficient building from a number of perspectives.
The new build and related work to part of the Town Hall to form the new library will cost £10.5 million. Mansfield District Council has indicated that they could contribute £6.5 million – subject to Council approval on 21st October. It is proposed that the remaining funds will come from the County Council by utilising £2 million previously held for refurbishing the existing library and an additional £2 million from its capital programme.
Councillor Steve Carroll concludes: "Following the sign off of the proposals from both the County and District Councils we will announce details of how local people can get involved in developing the next stage of the project. We're really keen that this is a facility for local people and as such local opinion is key to us getting it right."
Subject to the approval process it is estimated that the new Library would open towards the end of 2011.
A copy of the County Council Report is available at the County Council's diary which can be viewed at: http://itsacr02a.nottscc.gov.uk/apps/pr/diary/memdiary.nsf/Calendar?OpenView
The new library will contribute to significant town centre regeneration initiatives including:
· The County Council's new Mansfield Bus Station
· The redevelopment of the Queen's Head public house site
· The improvements in the surrounding area, particularly pedestrian routes from the bus station into the Market Square.
· The renovation and reuse of the historic Town Hall