Shropshire Star

Costs put brakes on plan to relocate Ellesmere Llibrary

Ambitious plans to move Ellesmere's library into the town's market hall look set to flounder because of spiralling costs.


All Together Ellesmere, which runs the market hall in Scotland Street, wants to see the library move in as part of a wider project to breathe new life into the building. The plan includes building a mezzanine floor, opening a café and providing art and music rooms.

But Lincoln McMullan, chairman of the group, said early obstacles had been met that would be too expensive to get past – including news that a feasibility study could cost up to £30,000. It has left a question mark over the future of the market hall, as All Together Ellesmere's lease runs out in 2018 and it is not known if it will have enough money to carry on running the venue.

The library at Fullwood House in Victoria Street is also facing an uncertain future as user numbers at the library have fallen from 25,275 in 2010/11 to 23,853 in 2014/15.

The library, which has fewer than 500 users a week and 998 active borrowers, is one of several Shropshire Council is trying to offload to community groups to save £1.3 million.

Other proposals for the library include moving it to the nearby Meres Day Centre. An action group called Friends of Ellesmere Library has been set up to ensure library service will be retained in the town and will continue to be run by trained staff.

Mr McMullan said: "The market hall is a hub of any market town and it always should be.

"The plan was that we would build a mezzanine floor and that would be where we could put the library in. We wanted to have all sorts, like a café and art rooms and sound-proofed rooms for musicians.

"It would be something that would benefit all sorts of people and really become the hub of the market town. It would be something that could save the market hall and the library at once.

"We hoped to have something once the library building was sold but the council can't go forward without this study, and we can't go forward without the money. Sadly, it is a vicious circle."

Mr McMullan added: "Our lease on the market hall runs out in 2018.

"We will need to make a decision about what we want to do before that time. It is sad to think it could be lost and the running could be taken over by a company from Liverpool or Birmingham."

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