Welshpool former library conversion is £90,000 over budget

An extra £90,000 is needed to finish the conversion of the former Welshpool library into an office for Powys County Council staff.

Welshpool Library
Welshpool Library

On Thursday, October 1, portfolio holder for Education and Property, Councillor Phyl Davies will agree to the increase and allow the money to be moved between county council accounts.

This process is called a “virement,” and will see the cash moved from other property and maintenance budgets to the library conversion.

In the report, project manager, Gareth Richards, said: “This virement is required to complete the former Welshpool Library conversion to a new front facing office building replacing Neuadd Maldwyn as the front facing office for Welshpool.

“The project is key to providing agile office space for the north of Powys.

“An initial budget of £175,000 has been found to be substantially inadequate for the project.

“A total budget of £265,000 is required to complete and furnish the new office.”

To fund the project in Welshpool, £50,000 is to be taken away from the refurbishment of the park office in Newtown.

Controversial

The report adds that the park office refurbishment has now been “downgraded.”

The other £40,000 comes from savings found in other projects including £9,960 from the County Hall lift at the county council headquarters in Llandrindod Wells, and £12,600 from the Neuadd Brycheiniog guttering schemes.

The controversial closing of the library was vehemently opposed in the town.

Converting the library into an office was part of a move to allow Neuadd Maldwyn to be refurbished as an extra care facility.

A “Save Welshpool Library” campaign was set up and 4,000 people signed a petition, later over 300 plus residents including Russell George (Montgomeryshire MS) marched through the town’s streets in protest against the decision.

The library closed in March just before the pandemic lockdown.

It has since re-opened at Powysland Museum, which has now been rebranded as Y Lanfa/The Wharf.

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