Improved Library Planned For West Barnes

Scheme will also incorporate housing

Developers are going to be offered the opportunity to build homes on the West Barnes Library site, in return for providing improved library facilities for residents.

The scheme will follow the model that his been successful in Raynes Park Library, which has retirement homes built around it.

Merton Council says the project will be completed by a private developer at no cost to the council, and will include a library of top quality design with the facilities which residents want, following a consultation in September and October.

The next stage in the development process will be to bring on board a developer in the New Year to build the new facilities. The development is expected to be completed by autumn 2017.

Through the consultation, many comments were made in support of the development and the levels of service currently available with a number of respondents reporting that they’d like the work to happen as soon as possible.

More than 425 residents responded to the consultation, 89.7% of which are current library users with 79.86% of respondents saying that they were more likely to use the library with improved facilities.

Book stock, public toilets and a children’s area were identified as the three most important facilities for the new library. Library users would also like to see more soft seating, books and classes for adults. In terms of additional facilities not currently provided at the library, the highest responses called for a coffee shop and public toilets.

The council says responses from this consultation and from the council’s earlier engagement with community groups and other interested parties will guide it in its decisions on the building design and what to include in the new library.

Merton Council’s cabinet member for community and culture Councillor Nick Draper said: ‘I’m delighted that the local community has shown its support for our plans to develop West Barnes Library. It’s important that we take account of everyone’s views in our forward planning, so we can  make our library service as efficient and cost effective as possible while giving our residents the library they want.

“These are difficult financial times for the council and I’m glad that residents are backing our proposals to use funding from this housing development to build a brand new library that will be sustainable for years to come.”

December 4, 2014