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FRESH CHAPTER: Hartlepool library relocation approved

FRESH CHAPTER: Hartlepool library relocation approved

Hartlepool Council Civic Centre, Image: LDRS

A Hartlepool library branch is set for a fresh chapter after councillors backed proposals to relocate it to a new venue.

This week, plans were officially approved to move the town’s Throston Library from its longstanding home in Glamorgan Grove to the Throston Youth Project nearby.

Hartlepool Borough Council say the library has seen book borrowing fall in recent years and that the costs of almost £250,000 needed to bring the building up to standard can not be met within existing budgets.

Despite being closed since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, ongoing revenue cost pressures have been carried forward ahead of a decision on the future of Throston Library.

In September 2021, an online consultation was launched on proposals to move the library to a youth centre less than a mile away, with several comments from respondents supporting the relocation.

Catcote Academy have also approached the borough council with a view of using the library building on a long-term basis, which council officers say would prevent any derelict buildings in the community.

A formal recommendation to approve the library move was presented to the borough council’s Adult and Community Based Services Committee on Thursday, September 30.

While some councillors raised concerns that the proposal may lead to a “ripple effect” on other library branches in Hartlepool in terms of closures or relocations, the proposals were approved.

Council officers said no staffing implications were expected and that the youth centre building would provide an enhanced library offer, as well as opportunities for expansion of activities and programmes.

Meanwhile, councillor Sue Little stressed that the proposals would prevent the closure of Throston Library and were a “win-win” for the community.

She told the meeting: “What [council officers] are doing is absolutely outstanding.

“We’re keeping a library open, they’re going to offer more services […] it’s a win-win.

“This place was earmarked to close five years ago and we have had a budget pressure every year to keep this place open but we’ve swallowed it.

“If we don’t relocate now and if we don’t have a council tax increase or anything else, it’s going to go.”

Councillor John Riddle added: “I’m quite excited of the prospect of the library moving to the youth club.

“As a qualified youth leader for more than 40 years, I have engaged with young people throughout the whole of my life.

“Recently I met with some young people who said ‘we would like to talk to more older people to exchange ideas because you make decisions that affect us and we don’t appear to have any input.’

“If you open the [library] at the youth club centre you know [the youth centre] is going to be open on the evening.

“I’m sure when [young people] see the library facilities in the youth club, they will go in during the day.”

Following discussion, the proposal to relocate the library branch was unanimously backed by the committee.

Council officers confirmed that Throston Library will move to its new home in coming months.

 

Words: Chris Binding, Local Democracy Reporter


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