Contractor appointed to redevelop Exeter Central Library

Exeter Central Library

Posted on: 25 April 2012

Leading construction company Mansell has been appointed by Devon County Council to undertake the multimillion pound redevelopment work at Exeter Central Library.

Plans for the ambitious £4.1m scheme, which will see a range of improvements made to the library including better accessibility, increased space for children and a new café, were unanimously approved by Councillors last month.

Mansell won the contract through the County Council’s competitive tendering framework and will now be working on the project to assist with final design.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries, said:

“We have deliberately recruited contractors promptly as their expertise at this initial stage will help maximise the value of our investment in this project by making sure the work is successfully completed with minimal issues.

“Early collaborative working with Mansell has many benefits including substantially improving the construction time and increasing the likelihood of the build schedule staying on target, which is great news.

“Their involvement at this early stage also reduces the likelihood of design and construction problems only being realised on site when the work has started, which means we have more certainty over the predicted construction costs.

“It will also be easier and cost less to make any changes to the design that may be needed as we can work on issues together.”

Mansell Regional Director, Andy McAdam, said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to redevelop Exeter Central Library. We look forward to commencing the all important pre-construction period in a truly collaborative style, ensuring that the public receives state of the art, accessible library facilities whilst maintaining value for money.”

Plans for the major facelift follow extensive consultation with a broad section of the local community including residents, library staff, local schoolchildren, families and other key groups such as people with disabilities.

The collected views, and data on which services the library currently offers are most popular and how often people visit, have been used to create the plans which include a new passenger lift near the main entrance, revamped meeting and performance spaces as well as improved spaces for learning and study along with upgraded public 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 the library has better connections with the city’s Cultural Quarter with the Museum, Phoenix Arts Centre and Exeter Castle.

Relevant planning permissions will now be sought so building work could begin as early as February 2013, and it is anticipated the new library would open in early 2014.

During the construction period, limited interim library facilities will be made available in the adjacent Castle Street building. 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 premises will become vacant when the Council’s Registration Service relocates to the Civic Centre and Larkebeare 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 could 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.

Residents can continue to help shape plans for their new-look library and follow the project’s development 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  ecldevelop@devon.gov.uk or writing to Exeter Central Library project, Devon Libraries, Great Moor House, Bittern Road, Sowton, Exeter, EX2 7NL

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