New library looks set for planning OK
HUNTINGDON S new state-of-the-art library and public records office is expected to get the green light from planners on Monday. The present octagonal building, which was opened in 1971, will be demolished to make way for it. The library, along with 110 f
HUNTINGDON'S new state-of-the-art library and public records office is expected to get the green light from planners on Monday.
The present octagonal building, which was opened in 1971, will be demolished to make way for it.
The library, along with 110 flats in three blocks, a "pocket park" and a small office building, represent the second phase of Cambridgeshire County Council's £30million redevelopment of its Princes Street estate, which includes several listed buildings and other structures.
The first phase, the new combined justice centre and county council offices at the George Street end of the site, is due to be completed shortly. After fitting out, the first trials in the courthouse, which will include a part-time Crown Court, are expected in October.
If the district council's development control panel accepts planners' recommendations to approve the scheme on Monday, the library will move shortly to Dryden House, another country council building near the police station, where it will remain during building work.
The 110 flats, of which 35 will be "affordable" and the rest expected to be sold on the open market, will be in three blocks, up to five storeys high, grouped round the pocket park.
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Access from Walden Road - part of Huntingdon ring road - where the county council is currently installing a contraflow bus lane, will be closed off. Two new access points will be created from Princes Street, but special arrangements will have to be made for collecting refuse and materials for recycling because HDC's dustcarts are too big to get onto the site.
"The proposed redevelopment of this site will secure the provision of a state-of-the-art library that will provide new and improved learning facilities and an improved Huntingdon archive, while also preserving and enhancing the character and appearance of the area and setting of listed buildings," planners say.
"While objections to this application have been received, it is considered that, on balance, none of the concerns raised are sufficient to justify the refusal of planning permission."
Five hundred people signed a petition demanding retention of the quirky existing library, but English Heritage refused to list it.
As well as much-needed air-conditioning and a controlled environment for storing records, the new building, on much the same site as the present library, will have toilets, full disabled access and public meeting rooms.