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Northwich Library closed pending structural survey

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Northwich library has closed its doors temporarily to allow a structural investigation of part of the building.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has been working on plans for refurbishment of the library for a number of months, and says work is due to start shortly.

Due to the age and condition of the timber framed building, parts of the project have been identified as in need of urgent attention.

Scaffolding has been erected at the rear of the library as movement has been noticed in the back wall. The council decided to close the library as a precaution.

Cllr Louise Gittins, leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Northwich library is an old building which is in much need of repair.

“The council is investing in the building’s future to carry out these vital improvements and plans are in place to begin this work shortly.

“It is in a poor condition, and our teams are constantly monitoring its condition while the necessary permanent repairs are designed.

“As ever, public safety is the key priority for the council and once we have received the results of the survey, we will be able to advise further.”

She added: “We apologise for the inconvenience this closure causes library users.

“Alternative library services are available nearby and we look forward to the day when work will start to transform this treasured building and continue to provide this valued public service.”

 

 

Meanwhile, Cllr Sam Naylor and MP Mike Amesbury have both called for the authority to ‘crack on’ with the work.

In a joint statement, the pair said: “Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury and Northwich councillor Sam Naylor were delighted when Cheshire West and Chester Council announced a £2 million renovation of the Grade II-listed building last year.

“But this week they were disappointed it had to close for safety reasons 14 months after scaffolding was erected in preparation for repair work that has still not begun.”

They implored the council to get on with the job, with Cllr Naylor commenting: “I’ve been campaigning around the state of the library throughout the nine years I’ve been a ward councillor after it deteriorated under successive administrations.

“In fairness, there are now plans to enhance it and the funding is there but I’m disappointed it’s taken so long and this temporary closure is a real blow.

“We just want to see something positive being done because it’s a well-loved, iconic building, treasured by the people of Northwich.

“The council needs to really crack on.”

Mr Amesbury holds regular surgeries in the library and describes staff as brilliant. He agreed the local authority must prioritise restoring the facility to its former glory.

He said he understood authorities have budget pressures owing to cuts from central government, but the library was nevertheless in desperate need of investment.

He commented: “It’s been known for some considerable time that this popular and much-loved facility is in desperate need of investment and the money has been allocated.

“We just need to see some action now.”

While Northwich Library is closed, people can use the libraries in Sandiway, Barnton and Weaverham which will be operating extended opening hours.

In addition, all loans due back this week have been renewed for a further three weeks.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has committed £2m to enhance the current library and turn it into a multi-use community space.

Northwich Library originally opened in 1885 with financial support from Sir John Brunner, who was co-founder of chemical company Brunner, Mond and Co.

The original building was damaged by subsidence and eventually demolished. Its replacement was built on the same site by Sir John Brunner in 1909.

 

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