Plans submitted to convert part of Deeside Leisure Centre into a community library hub
Flintshire County Council has submitted a ‘change of use’ application to err……. Flintshire County Council – which if approved (work appears to be well underway) will see part of Deeside Leisure Centre converted into a community library hub.
The County Council’s cabinet committee agreed in May to controversial plans which will three Deeside community libraries, Mancot, Hawarden and Queensferry close, consolidating them into one ‘Library Hub’ within the existing leisure centre’s main building in an effort to make financial savings as unprecedented council spending cuts take hold.
Mancot library has earned a reprieve however as residents look to take over the running of their library using the council’s community asset transfer scheme.
Interestingly the ‘Design and Access Statement‘ submitted as part of the planning process on 6 November 2015 appears to have been drawn up in June 2013 – suggesting plans to close the three libraries and created one hub have been in pipeline for a number of years prior to the more recent ‘austerity’ conversations in which the libraries have been part of.
The Design and Access Statement states the council is looking to streamline services and ‘co-locate’ wherever possible, ‘libraries and leisure centres have a very similar customer base’ – the statement says.
Flintshire County Council plan to provide ‘a new, modern facility that is accessible to all’ which will have the overall benefit of reducing overheads, the addition of a library will further enhance and strengthen the Leisure Centres range of facilities the statement says.
The new facility will take the place of the popular soft play area next to the case, it was used previously for children’s parties.
The library hub will make use of technology and provide ‘IT access’ to members of the public using a new ‘self-serve’ device and offer access to tablet computers.
Contemporary furniture and fittings with ‘harmonise’with the existing internal decor, the document goes on to say ‘car parking’ is readily available (1400 spaces) – there is no indication charges for parking will be introduced anytime soon.
The move to close the three libraries and have one single library hub in Deeside is expected to save Flintshire Council £50,000 per year.
Opposition to the closures has been widespread with more than 1,000 people signing a petition to save Deeside’s community libraries – arguments against generally lean towards those members of the community who will be excluded from using council library services on the grounds that Deeside Leisure Centre may not be the most accessible location for those living in Hawarden and Mancot.
Flintshire Council Member for Hawarden Clive Carver along with councillors Dave Mackie, Adele Davies-Cooke, Alison Halford, and Glenys Diskin ‘called in’ the decision to close the three libraries – that was dismissed by the cabinet who were determined to see the plan become a reality in light of the huge financial pressure the council is under.
The new library hub is expected to be open by March 2016.
|File size Mb
|Proposed Library Floor Plan Dwg No OFL 121 010 02_A1
|Existing Site & Location Plan & Ground Floor Plan Dwg No OFL 121 010 01_A1
|Design & Access Statement_A4
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