Exeter residents encouraged to have their say on library redevelopment

Devon County CouncilDevon County Council

Posted on: 10 November 2011

A public consultation launches today (Thursday 10 November) to get views from residents on the multi-million pound redevelopment of Exeter Central Library.

More than £3.7million is to be spent on a major facelift of the flagship city centre building, and the Council is keen to hear how the community want to see the money used.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for the library service, says:

“Central Library is an important community resource, and so we want the whole community to be involved throughout this project. This consultation is the first opportunity for everyone to have their say and influence the redevelopment, so it’s really important everyone takes part.

“By engaging with the local community we can really 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. It is our vision that this multi-million pound redevelopment will transform the library into a first class modern facility for information and learning situated at the heart of the city’s culture quarter alongside the city museum, Phoenix Arts Centre and Exeter Castle.

“I urge everyone to get involved and say how they would like the building to look and feel. We are keen to get as many views as possible so we can develop plans in partnership and deliver a design that will maximise space and allow the building to be used flexibly to accommodate a range of activities and services. We will be asking the community for their opinions all the way through the redevelopment as 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.”

Questionnaires will be available at Exeter Central Library along with those in Pinhoe, and Topsham as well as online at www.devon.gov.uk/ecldevelop.

The survey, which is the first in a range of consultation events, seeks to find out which services the library currently offers are most popular and how often people visit. It also asks residents to share their ideas on how to improve the library, and give their opinion on some of the options that have already been suggested, such as opening up the entrance into Rougemont garden so the library has better connections with the Museum, Phoenix Arts Centre and Exeter Castle.

The Council has also planned a number of on street surveys in the city centre shopping areas and some open events where both library users and those who don’t currently use the library will be able to identify what services they would like the building to contain and how they would like the new flexible layout to look before it is designed, as well as share their ideas about the range of activities that could be offered.

In addition, focus groups will take place 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.

Councillor Philip Brock, Devon County Council local member for Exeter St David’s and St James, said:
“I would urge everyone interested to participate in this consultation. The library is a public amenity and as such it is right and proper that the public be consulted on ways it could be upgraded and improved upon. “It is used by people of all ages and from all walks of life and I’m sure the public will have something very positive to add, to ensure the library offers something for everyone in these changing and modernising times.”

Completed surveys must be submitted by Friday 16th December 2011. Comments can also be emailed to ecldevelop@devon.gov.uk or phone 0845 155 1001. For more information please pop into Exeter Central Library, or contact Devon County Council’s Customer Service Centre 0845 155 1001.

Posted in: Community