New Home for Pontesbury Library
A village library which has seen its number of borrowers increase is set to close and re-open in a new location.
Pontesbury Library could shut at its current Bogey Lane site in the village, near Shrewsbury.
But it will re-open in the new Hall Bank development, should Shropshire Council’s cabinet back the plans at a meeting next week.
The library saw 8,192 visits in 2017/18, down from 9,895 in 2013/14, but the number of registered borrowers was up to 549 from 522 in the same period.
There were also more than 7,500 fewer books loans in the last year compared to four years previously, while the computers had been used for 10,700 fewer minutes than four years back.
The move would see it become part of a new community hub planned by Shropshire Homes.
In his report to cabinet, director of place, Mark Barrow, said: “This report seeks approval for the relocation of Pontesbury Library from its current location in Bogey Lane to a new community hub building that is being constructed in the summer of 2019 as part of the Hall Bank development in Pontesbury.
The development is less than half a mile or an eight minutes’ walk from Bogey Lane.
“Plans for the Hall Bank development were approved in September 2018 and as part of the overall project the developer Shropshire Homes are providing a community hub building which would be owned by Pontesbury Parish Council.
“The building would house a flexible library space, provision for partner organisations a range of services and functions including the library and would form a new focal point for the community.
“No charges will be incurred until the building is open and the existing library is closed.
“The existing library building and land was transferred to the converted Mary Webb Academy trust from January 1, 2019, as part of the statutory academy conversion process.
“As part of that process, Shropshire Council are statutorily required to undertake the legal transfer of the land and buildings to the academy trust.
“However, to maintain the council’s occupation of the library building, a lease has been entered into and the building is currently leased back to the council for continued use as a library for a five-year period.
“The lease includes a six-month notice break clause that enables Shropshire Council to surrender the lease at a point in time when the new hub building is ready for occupation.
“At that point the academy trust will take on full responsibility and liability for the existing library building as it will no longer be occupied by the council.”
Mr Barrow added: “This relocation proposal follows three years of close working with key local stakeholders including Pontesbury Parish Council and the Friends of Pontesbury Library to identify a sustainable solution for the delivery of library services to Pontesbury and surrounding areas.”
He said a public consultation on this proposal was carried out between October 9 and November 20.
“A total of 63 responses were received to the consultation,” he said.
“Overall 77 per cent of respondents agreed with the proposal and a further 10 per cent said they neither agreed nor disagreed.”
The cabinet meeting will be held on Wednesday at 11am at Shirehall, Shrewsbury.