Hucknall Library protected until 2025, but will it remain in its iconic building?

Hucknall Library, and dozens of others in Nottinghamshire, will be protected from closure “through until 2025”, a leading councillor has confirmed.

By Andrew Topping
Friday, 25th February 2022, 9:04 am
Updated Friday, 25th February 2022, 9:04 am
Hucknall Library on Market Place
Hucknall Library on Market Place

However, he says some sites may move to new locations or ‘co-locate’ as the authority looks to cut costs on some expensive, old buildings.

Nottinghamshire County Council figures show visitor numbers for the county’s 60 static libraries hit 112,087 for April 1 to June 30, 2021 – just 19 per cent of the target.

It led to concerns some of the libraries could be closed amid cost-saving exercises and less demand due to both the pandemic and more services moving online.

But now a leading council chairman has given residents the assurance they will still have access to a library within their “locality” by the time the next elections arrive in May 2025.

However, he says his assurances do not mean some libraries will remain within the same physical building.

Speaking during a budget meeting, Coun John Cottee said: “I’m happy to confirm this administration will maintain Nottinghamshire’s network of 60 libraries and its mobile provision through to 2025.

“The only qualification to that statement is to emphasise I’m talking about libraries rather than buildings.

“That’s because opportunities may – and have – arisen to relocate services to different buildings in the same locality that offer better value for taxpayers’ money.

“It may also be that opportunities arise to co-locate libraries with other services to provide a one-stop-shop for our communities.”

He added there will be no changes to library charges and, as concerns ease over Covid and all restrictions ease, “footfall will improve and income will recover”.

His comments came, he said, due to concerns over Nottingham City Council’s plans to close three libraries.

Coun Daniel Williamson (Ash Ind), of the Independent Alliance, had previously tabled a motion calling for libraries to be protected.

Cllr Cottee said his speech during the budget was his way of addressing Cllr Williamson’s concerns, but he did not confirm which sites may move or co-locate with other services.

Similar concerns have previously been raised in the chamber about the prospect of library closures. Coun Elizabeth Williamson (Ind) flagged worries around residents primarily ‘going online’.

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