Library could get new home in town hall

The Ossett library building could be sold off and the service moved permanently to Ossett Town Hall.
The petition is handed over.The petition is handed over.
The petition is handed over.

The library has been based at the former Mechanics Institute building on Station Road since 1935. But it has been temporarily housed in the town hall since September 2016, when asbestos was found in its Station Road home at the start of a planned refurbishment.

A campaign was launched to re-open the Station Road premises and more than 1,000 people signed a petition after complaints that the temporary library had no disabled access or computers.

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Work to remove the asbestos and revamp the building would cost £425k, according to a report to Wakefield Council’s cabinet. But the authority is now proposing to spend £500k on permanently relocating the library to the town hall.

Under the plan, the first floor of the hall would be refurbished to house the library and computers, a lift and accessible toilet would be installed and there would be external repair work to the historic, Grade II-listed building.

Coun Jacquie Speight, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport said: “This is a great opportunity to create an improved library service for the people of Ossett as well as breathing new life into one of the town’s most prestigious landmarks.

“After talking to library users we know that access has been an issue which is why we want to invest in a new lift.

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“This will open the library service and first floor space up to everyone, making the town hall more accessible for all.”

The council’s cabinet will discuss the proposal at a meeting at 10.30am on Tuesday.

If councillors give the go-ahead, the authority plans to dispose of the Station Road building. The council said it would ensure any sale “enhances Ossett’s town centre”.