Thursday 17th June 2021
Acomb Explore Library, Front Street
Stories and songs at Acomb Explore
Join us for stories, songs and rhymes at this socially distanced event. This is suitable for under 5’s with and accompanying adult. Each ticket is for 1 adult with children age under 5 years old.
We reported a few weeks ago that Council owned land to the rear of Acomb Library – and which had been hijacked for use as a building compound – was now available once again for its original purpose.
The and had been purchased by the Council over 10 years ago to establish a “one stop shop” for public services as part of a plan to expand the library site. The need for a local Council base became more urgent when the Acomb Housing Office was subsequently closed in 2013.
Nothing much happened on the site until the new Liberal Democrat led Council announced a plan to invest £4 million in the library sites at Acomb and Clifton. That was two years ago. Things once again have fallen silent in the interim.
It appears though, from a progress report being considered by the Council next week, that plans for the site have already been drawn up.
No public consultation has taken place and the Front Street survey – which ended a few days ago – failed to offer any options for the library site.
The original aspiration was for housing estate managers, the police, the NHS and neighbourhood workers to have a base at the new building. It remains to be seen whether this concept will be pursued.
In the interim the Council has constructed a new small housing office as part of the Lincoln Court redevelopment.
The land to the rear of Chancery Court (not Council owned) would have been landscaped as part of the project.
It was hoped that many more residents would make use of the Front Street facility as a result of the new investment. It would become a natural “hub” for the local community.
Apparently, the early plans for the site have been costed at £3 million. They are currently being scaled back to something “more affordable”.
The recently opened new library at Burnholme cost £4.6 million.
The Council needs to engage with potential users of facilities like these before plans are firmed up.
The development to the rear of the Acomb Library (Bowling Lane) is almost complete with most of the homes now occupied.
The Council owned site, currently being used as a builders yard, will shortly close opening the way for a start to be made on the long awaited upgrade to the Acomb Library.
The Council has a budget of £2 million allocated in each of the next two years (starting on 1/4/21) to provide “Centres of Learning and Opportunity for all” at Acomb & Clifton libraries.
Plans to provide a “one stop shop” for public services at Acomb Explore date back over a decade and the land to the rear of South View Terrace was purchased by the Council (from a local builder) with the intention of improving the whole area.
Sadly, that intention stalled, and the land became overgrown. It was a major missed regeneration opportunity.
The “Lockdown” period has provided Council officials with adequate time to refined their proposals for the site and we expect to see public consultation starting shortly.
We do not want building activity in the area to continue for longer than is essential, so some drive and enthusiasm is now required.
The publication of a draft development timetable would be a good start.
Here are some events planned for the next few months
Work is well underway in re-roofing Acomb Explore Library.
The Library is due to get a further makeover and extension in 2021 as part of the Councils modernisation programme.
Nearby the first of the new houses on the Acomb Bowling Green site on Front Street are nearing completion.
Hopefully completion of the development will allow for a more comprehensive plan for the use of the remaining land to be considered.
The land was purchased by the Council to facilitate an extension to the library in 2009. However successive Council leaders have chosen to allow the area to become increasingly derelict during the intervening period.