by Nigel Bakhai on 13 July, 2012
As you may be aware, following a great deal of public pressure across the borough, Ealing Council decided to reverse its plans to close Hanwell and three other libraries. The Ealing Lib Dem council group showed in our alternative budget proposals that if there was the political will, money could be found not only to save the libraries but also to invest £1.1 million in upgrading Hanwell and Perivale libraries by not spending almost £5 million on the council’s pet project for a new car park in Southall. In April, the council responded by agreeing £900,000 of funding for the refurbishment of Hanwell Library out of the money being recovered from the Icelandic banks. As a result, in recent weeks Ealing Council has been consulting library users over their refurbishment plans and I recently attended a briefing by council officers to hear their draft plans as a result of this consultation.
The main purpose of this investment is to create a modern, fit for purpose library while retaining as many of the original features as possible including the fixed shelving, to improve library services and increase library usage, to undertake essential maintenance works such as fitting a new boiler, to improve accessibility for disabled users including installing a new lift, to expand the children’s library and increase the amount of space available for young people, to introduce new meeting room space both on the ground floor at the front of the building and by bringing the first floor back into use, and to create a new PC space in the old storeroom at the back of the library. Work on the refurbishment is expected to begin in November and be completed by April 2013.
Here were the projected costs given in the Cabinet report in April:-
Consultancy fees £56,000
Planning, legal and building control £45,000
Essential repairs £543,000
ICT and self-service £110,000
ICT maintenance £60,000
Stock refresh £15,000
Total project costs £900,000