Community shares transformation vision for city’s flagship library
Posted on: 14 February 2012
Devon County Councillor Roger Croad, who has responsibility for the County’s library service, is thanking residents in Exeter for their help in shaping plans for the multi-million pound redevelopment of the city’s Central Library.
More than 600 people took part in the recent consultation, which asked residents to share their ideas on how to improve the library and sought to find out how the community would like the new flexible layout to look before it is designed, as well as the sort of activities and services they think could be offered.
The results showed lots of support for increasing the size of the children’s area and creating a café and outside area as well as improving the available meeting space.
The proposal to open up the library’s entrance into Rougemont Gardens so it has better connections with the RAMM Museum, Phoenix Arts Centre and Exeter Castle was also very popular, with many people commenting that making the building part of the city’s ‘Cultural Quarter’ would help bring greater footfall into this currently underused part of the city.
As part of the consultation pupils from St James’ school visited the library, and were keen to see a dedicated teenage section included in the development, as well as a quiet study and research area.
Focus groups with key groups in the community; including families with young children and people with disabilities highlighted improving physical access to the building, including the lift, as an important element in the redevelopment.
These collected views, as well as data on which services the library currently offers are most popular and how often people visit, are now being used to help create initial designs and detailed plans for the major facelift, which will go before Devon County Council’s Cabinet in March for approval.
“I am pleased that so many people want to be involved in helping shape the redevelopment of Central Library.
“Our next step is to use these results to deliver a design that meets changing local needs by maximising the space so the building can be used flexibly to accommodate a range of activities and services for residents of all ages so that everyone will want to spend longer exploring and enjoying everything Exeter Central Library has to offer them.
“It is our vision that this multi-million pound redevelopment will restore Devon’s flagship library, transforming it into a first class facility for information and learning situated at the heart of the city, so I am delighted that this consultation has shown that the community share this vision.
“By working in partnership with residents and other key stakeholders, we can add value to this project and get the most out of our investment by making best use of the money available to benefit the wider development of Exeter.”
Councillor Philip Brock, Devon County Council local member for Exeter St David’s and St James, said:
“This has been a vital and important exercise. On a major investment in a public facility we must make sure we listen to the people who use it and endeavour to make provision for all sections of the community.”Posted in: Community