Have say on library look

THE public is being asked to help shape the interior of a new dynamic modern library and archive centre for Huntingdon. Work on the new building could soon start – unless the town s civic society can get the existing library listed – and Cambridgeshir

THE public is being asked to help shape the interior of a new "dynamic modern library and archive centre" for Huntingdon.

Work on the new building could soon start - unless the town's civic society can get the existing library "listed" - and Cambridgeshire County Council's library and information service wants local people to help design the interior space and facilities.

The council already has outline planning approval to replace the library, in Princes Street, and record office in Grammar School Walk as part of a £30million project to regenerate its land and public buildings in the town centre.

"The existing library building - which is more than 40 years old - is inefficient and expensive to run with cramped, awkward spaces, very poor heating and ventilation," said a spokesman. "It's very noisy and lacks dedicated study space and public toilets and does not have a proper children's library or meeting space for group work, school visits or for the many clubs and societies which use library resources.

"The record office also occupies cramped, unsuitable premises, which do not meet modern standards for archive buildings and offer poor public facilities."

He said the new building would provide nearly 50 per cent more space than the existing library and records office. There would be a bigger and better children's library with space for 50 per cent more books and a homework area, new public and disabled toilets and baby changing area.

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"The new building will also be fully accessible to people with a range of disabilities - not the case in the existing library or record office."

The council hopes as many people as possible will make their views known. All existing and potential library and archive users, interest groups and other people can take part in a consultation on the nature of the services inside the building.

Huntingdon Library is one of the busiest in Cambridgeshire, with around 22,000 members.

County council head of libraries, Lesley Noblett, added: "The regeneration gives us an opportunity to start with a clean slate to demolish the existing library building and create a truly dynamic and flexible library and archive centre for Huntingdon and the surrounding villages."

During reconstruction, library services will continue to be provided from another location within the central area of the town.

As reported in recent issues of The Hunts Post, Huntingdon and Godmanchester Civic Society has asked English Heritage to list the 1971 building as being of special architectural or historical merit.

INFORMATION: To take part in the consultation either pick up a form from Huntingdon Library, e-mail phil.rennie@cambridgeshire.gov.uk, telephone the CCC contact centre on 0845 045 5200, or visit www.cambridgeshire. gov.uk/library.