Extensive refurbishment works to upgrade the home of Wellington Library in Fore Street in Wellington town centre, have been approved and are due to start in August.
The works involve comprehensive upgrades to the fabric of the building – which dates back to the early 1800s, and has been operating as Wellington library in that location since 1969. The upgrades focus on:
- Improving accessibility for staff and visitors across all floors of the building
- Increasing the thermal efficiency of the Grade 1 listed building in line with Somerset Council’s ongoing commitment to decarbonisation and its Climate Emergency Strategy
- Creating a library and associated complementary services that work to connect the community, enable partnership working and provide advice and guidance to all customers to the site
The upgraded premises, which will house the new library and health services, are due to re-open in spring 2024, in a building that will be fit for purpose both in the breadth and quality of services it provides as part of a greener, sustainable community, and in minimising the building’s carbon emissions into the future.
Ahead of the works beginning in the summer, the current library in Fore Street will close on Saturday, May 6 and temporary library premises will be re-open at 55 North Street on Monday, June 26. Full details regarding all on-loan items, reservations, book renewals and returns as well opening times at North Street will be available at Libraries (somerset.gov.uk) from 9 May.
Executive Member Cllr Ros Wyke – Lead Member for Prosperity Assets and Development commented:
This is a hugely exciting point in the long-awaited programme to upgrade and enhance the library building in Wellington, creating a wonderful hub for the local community and visitors alike.
As many Wellington residents are aware, the current premises are no longer fit purpose and it is vital that the works to improve and enable full accessibility for all our customers, visitors and staff – including the installation of a lift to all floors, creating an accessible library entrance at ground floor and making the rear extension structurally safe – commence this summer.
As with all major projects of this type, preparation is key. The closure of the current premises in May is necessary to enable our team of skilled, part time staff to methodically and accurately plan, categorise, sort and pack thousands of items, selecting which will be moved to the temporary library premises in North Street, and which will be put into storage until the new premises are ready next spring.
The Wellington Library Refurbishment – Contract Award Decision Report is due for approval 15 May 2023.