Positive response to Learning Library plans

BooksGlossopdale’s three County Councillors held the first three of their consultative surgeries on the future of Glossopdale Learning Library on Monday of this week.

According to Councillor Damien Greenhalgh the exercise was positive and the public were able to express their views and concerns

We realise that this second round of surgeries were called at short notice and that some people may not have been able to attend.” he said. “However, on balance the comments we received were positive and people seemed to understand the reality of the situation and encouraging about the idea of locating the adult education and library services on a common campus and particularly in a single building with a common reception area for instance.”

There were some questions raised to which answers are needed, they include:

  • What has the cost of scaffolding been during the repair and investigatory period, effectively between the erection of the scaffolding and its removal?
  • Would a new proposal of a learning library mean greater utilization of the adult education part of the building in future compared with today?
  • Were there plans to better use parking facilities on the site to mitigate the impact of congestion on the immediate areas surrounding the library?
  • What were the possibilities for the land opposite the library to be used as additional parking space?

County Councillor Dave Wilcox said “These are legitimate questions requiring answers, which we are undertaking to get addressed.”

In terms of the options on offer from the County Council for the future of library services, the preference was for the option where the library is sympathetically attached to the present adult education centre.

We realise that there are three further consultative surgeries to be held at the Library on Saturday at 10.00, 11.00 and 12.00 noon” added Cllr Ellie Wilcox “and that the views expressed there may be different than those which have been put so far. So we’d encourage people to attend whatever their views maybe or simply if they want to learn more about the proposals.

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Councillors support a Learning Library for Glossopdale

Library Street Sign - SquaredGlossopdale’s three county councillors plan to engage the public further on the way forward for library services in the town after finding the four public surgeries they held earlier this month “very helpful”.

The councillors say their well-attended meetings heard residents expressing their interest and sharing their concerns around the two options to re-house the town’s library services into new buildings on the present Adult Education Centre’s grounds.

Support for there to be a third option to keep these services in Victoria Hall was proposed by the SOUL group. They said they regretted that the County Council wasn’t able to offer this option.

We have great sympathy for the people supporting an option 3” said Cllr Dave Wilcox “but unfortunately the reality is no-one knows what it is, where the money would come from or that a deliverable plan for the hall’s sustainable use can even be put together.

Whilst SOUL have been an effective group in promoting a Victoria Hall option, they have had more than three years to bring a credible, costed and funded plan forward and library users cannot wait another three years for nothing to come forward again whilst there is £1.9million set aside for a new library not being used”.

Cllr Damien Greenhalgh said local people shared concerns around the design of the proposed buildings on the former Glossop Grammar School site and the difficulties with parking in this area – particularly that the standalone building in the centre’s car park (option 1) would remove too many car parking spaces exacerbating the situation.

After exhausting all the options to retain library services in Victoria Hall, it’s certainly not our intention to build an unsightly aircraft hangar or spaceship like the 2013 plans for the former St Luke’s building car park proposal, but to offer a viable option that is in keeping with the heritage of the surrounding area.

Gaining planning consent for either option will take considerable time, due to the adult education centre being grade II listed and being a conservation area.” he added.

The design and planning process must get under-way to deliver improvement for people, but if High Peak Borough Council or another credible organisation can come forward with a workable, sustainable and fully funded proposal then of course the County Council would be prepared to listen and examine it.

Attendee’s also expressed interest over the adult learning and library services coming together with a sympathetic extension of the adult education building (option 2). The councillors, who say they much prefer this option, feel that this option offers the greatest potential for services including increased usage, increased collaboration and greater efficiencies.

Cllr Ellie Wilcox said that the recommendation for the creation of a ‘Glossopdale Learning Library’ was one which the County Council had confidence it could provide.

After 30 months of investigation, negotiation and promise we are unfortunately no further forward with a Victoria Hall proposal than in May 2013 when we halted the hastily draw up alternative plans and instigated investigatory works.” she claimed. “We have a preferred option of the two that we can deliver and more importantly which provides library users the great improvement in service. We want to speak to local people about it, so we’re holding another six surgeries over two days in Glossop Library to allow as many people as possible to share their view with us.

The councillors’ surgeries are to be held at the Glossop Library at 4pm, 5pm and 6pm on Monday 2nd November and 10am, 11am and 12noon on Saturday 7th November.