Community to share views on city’s flagship library redevelopment
Posted on: 24 August 2012
Residents in Exeter will have another chance to help shape plans for the redevelopment of their flagship library next month.
Following extensive consultation with the local community earlier this year Devon County Council has drawn up initial designs for the multi-million pound revamp, which include a series of artist impressions showing what the building’s interior could look like.
Now the Council is going out into the community once again to seek feedback on the plans, and talk to residents about how they have incorporated their suggestions into the designs.
Members of the project team will be in the library foyer on Tuesday 11 September and Thursday 20 September from 9.30am to 3.30pm. There will be 3D visuals of the re-designed interior, as well as details about timescales for the construction work.
There will also be a number of feedback sessions with key groups in the community; including children, teenagers and families as well as people with disabilities as improving physical access to the building is an important element in the redevelopment.
The events will give people the opportunity to see what the building could look like, as well as ask questions and talk to members of the project team.
Residents who cannot make any of the consultation events will still be able to view the artist’s impressions and read about plans on the displays in the library foyer throughout September, and leave their comments via the feedback card available.
“Our initial consultation exercise received an excellent response, and we are keen for residents to come along and hear how we have used their views so far in the design process.
“Its also a good opportunity to tell us what they think now we can see how the open plan space could work, and where services within the building could be located, as well as how the design links the building to the rest of the city centre area.
“These plans have been developed in partnership with residents, and it is clear that by engaging with the local community we can ensure the best possible decisions are made to benefit them.
“We believe that by working together we can transform the library into an excellent facility that meets changing local needs, where residents of all ages want to spend longer exploring and enjoying everything Exeter Central Library has to offer them
“Having listened carefully to the views of our residents, we have produced a design that would maximises the use of space in the building, and make it as flexible as possible so it could accommodate a range of activities and services that young people, their families and the local community want.
“Now we are keen to meet with residents and key groups again to talk about these initial designs in more detail so that together we can make sure we create a magnificent local landmark that will be used to its full potential.
“These events are also an important opportunity for people to find out about timescales for the rest of the project and what provision will be available whilst the construction work is taking place.
“Central Library is an important community resource, and we want the Exeter community to have every opportunity to be part of this redevelopment so I hope as many people as possible will come along.”
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The ambitious £4.1m scheme will see a range of improvements made to the library including better accessibility, increased space for children and a new café as well as a new entrance area, revamped meeting and performance spaces and improved spaces for learning and study along with upgraded toilets. The latest environmental controls and relevant sustainability features will also be introduced to address some of the issues the building has with being cold in the winter and too hot in the summer.
An additional entrance to the library from Rougemont Gardens will also be created as part of the redevelopment so Devon’s flagship library has better connections with the city’s Cultural Quarter with the Museum, Phoenix Arts Centre and Exeter Castle
Relevant planning permissions will be sought, so building work could begin as early as January 2013, and it is anticipated the new library would open in early 2014.
Interim library preparations
Meanwhile preparations are being made for the interim library, which will be made available in the adjacent Castle Street building during the construction period. Although smaller, the building is ideally located and offers best value for money while continuing to offer a range of library services in the city centre.
The Stack at Exeter Central Library, which is used to store old stock, will not move across to the temporary library, it will be sealed during the redevelopment to protect the materials. Some of the more valuable items will be safely stored at the University of Exeter during this time.
The premises will become vacant when the Council’s Registration Service relocates to the Civic Centre and Larkbeare House and The Westcountry Studies Library, becomes part of the flagship Devon Heritage Centre along with the Devon Record Office based at Great Moor House in Sowton. The first phase of creating this new Heritage Centre will be achieved later this year with the relocation of the Westcountry Studies Library’s Reading Room to the Public Search Room of the existing Devon Record Office.
Have your say!
The project’s development can also be followed online at www.devon.gov.uk/ecldevelop. Comments questions and suggestion are welcome, and should be directed to the Community Involvement Co-ordinator by calling 01392 384315, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to Exeter Central Library project, Devon Libraries, Great Moor House, Bittern Road, Sowton, Exeter, EX2 7NLPosted in: Community