The council is announcing plans to relocate the library to 6-8 Colliers Walk, formerly occupied by HSBC bank, and keep the facility in the town centre. The relocation is planned to take place before next summer.
The move forms part of the council’s strategy to have modern, accessible libraries where people can go to benefit from a variety of services. These include:
- offering free access to computers, the internet and digital support
- hosting community support and advice sessions
- providing activities for families and people of all ages
- providing access to over 2.5 million items through the LibrariesWest consortium.
The existing 50-year-old building in Somerset Square is beyond its end of life. It is in poor condition and in need of roof repair due to regular flooding, as well as being very energy inefficient. It also doesn’t meet modern accessibility standards.
Relocating the library will:
- meet accessibility standards
- significantly extend library opening hours on a self-service basis
- provide a meeting space to give additional community access
- enable an increased range of events and activities to take place by using space more flexibly
- save energy
- be more cost effective to run, increasingly important as council services operate under increasing financial pressures.
Councillor Mike Solomon, North Somerset Council's executive member for neighbourhoods and community services, said: "We’re committed to continuing to provide a library in a prominent, highly visible location in the heart of the town centre.
"Nailsea Library is a top performing library but its current site is no longer fit-for-purpose for a whole host of reasons. It’s suffering from a range of problems and would be prohibitively expensive to repair and make accessible. Any financial investment would be better used in a different more energy-efficient building.
"It's vital that we have a library in Nailsea that is fit for the future. By moving it to its new home on Colliers Walk, we will secure the longterm future of this very popular local library."
Councillor Mike Bird, North Somerset Council ward member for Nailsea Yeo, said: “The Nailsea Library building has always been something of a Marmite taste. Personally, I’ve always found it an Iconic building. However, it’s well past its use by date, leaking water and energy, costing a large amount to maintain and heat, costs that are only going to get higher.
"Add to this the building's inaccessibility (who chose a spiral staircase as an entrance to a children’s library?) and you have the reasons for the library having a new longterm future in Colliers Walk. This new accessible space will create potential to develop and modernise the service for Nailsea and its surrounding community.
"Whatever the future of the old building, something Iconic needs to replace it - something for the community that says “That’s in Nailsea” - just like the present building does.”
The relocation of the library, which is subject to planning and landlord’s consent, is supported by Nailsea Town Council.
North Somerset Council is investigating options for the future of the current library site as part of the emerging Nailsea placemaking strategy, prepared with local stakeholders. It is working with owners of the surrounding land and the town council.
The council’s libraries strategy for 2021-31 is available on its website at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/librariesstrategy. Keep up with the latest news about Nailsea Library at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/nailsealibrary or on Facebook (facebook.com/nslibraries), Twitter (twitter.com/NSomLibraries) and Instagram (instagram.com/northsomersetlibraries).