PLANS have been submitted for a controversial new library for Huntingdon – which will be the second-busiest library in Cambridgeshire. Although 50 per cent bigger than the 1971 library it replaces and the record office in Grammar School Walk, (which it wi

WALDEN ROAD

PLANS have been submitted for a controversial new library for Huntingdon - which will be the second-busiest library in Cambridgeshire.

Although 50 per cent bigger than the 1971 library it replaces and the record office in Grammar School Walk, (which it will absorb), the new combined facility will be built on the Princes Street site of the existing library.

While 18-months' building work goes on, starting next summer if the plans are approved, library services will move to Dryden House, across the ring road near the police station.

Huntingdonshire and Godmanchester Civic Society last year applied unsuccessfully to English Heritage to prevent the development by having the present building listed as of architectural or historic interest.

Plans for the second phase of the £30million redevelopment of the Princes Street, George Street and Walden Road area of the town centre - where preparatory work began recently on a contra-flow bus lane on the ring road - will be shown to the public at an exhibition beginning on Monday - in the library.

The plans will be on show until the end of the month.

Phase one of the project - which includes new county council offices, a Combined Justice Centre (magistrates, Crown and County Courts, plus HM Court Service offices), refurbishment of Walden House and construction of residential accommodation at George Street - will be completed by the spring. The court is due to open in May.

The joint planning application for the second phase of the major redevelopment has been submitted by Cambridgeshire County Council and contractors Clegg Developments.

It will include residential accommodation and the state-of-the-art library and record centre and modern register office.

The library and register office is being part-funded by money from the new housing accommodation. More than one third of the accommodation will be available for social/affordable provision.

County council project manager Kathy Sutherland, said: "The present library is one of he busiest in Cambridgeshire, but it is hot and noisy, with no toilets or meeting rooms.

"The current Records Office needs considerable updating to meet the needs of disabled users and improve conditions for the storage of archives."

The redevelopment will mean all Huntingdon's historical resources - its archives and local studies collections - are in one place.

The facilities will include an improved children's library and homework facilities, new toilets, a meeting room, state-of-the-art storage conditions for precious archive materials, modern study space and extra display space for the nearby Cromwell Museum.