Papers released by the Council this week suggest that a major upgrade to the Acomb Explore Library will be completed by 2022. £4 million has been set aside for works at the Acomb and Clifton Libraries in the Councils budget.
The news will be welcomed in Acomb. It is 10 years since land was acquired to the rear of the library which was intended to accommodate an extension. The hope was then that the building would become a “one stop shop” for public services. It would have partly replaced the neighbourhood “Acomb Office” which Labour closed in 2013. There was hope that policing and health activities might relocate to the site.
The Council says, that the priority is “for investment in Acomb, to build on the great success of that Explore Centre, and in Clifton to transform the quality of service in that area. Individual business cases will be brought forward during 19/20 demonstrating how the investment will contribute to delivering service transformation and driving the generation of additional income streams”
The announcement comes amid rising tensions over the future of the libraries contract. The Council invited tenders last year for continuation of the service – which is currently provided via a social enterprise organisation.
There has been no official confirmation that the existing provider has been allocated the new contract which is due to start on 1st April 2019.
The Council also last year agreed a planning application which will see houses built on the adjacent bowling green site. Objectors at the time stressed the need for a holistic solution to the redevelopment of all the vacant plots in the area.