Sale of Nottingham Central Library will go ahead

The controversial sale of Nottingham’s Central Library will go ahead, it has been confirmed, but its transformation into offices won’t go ahead if the City Council “isn’t happy”, according to its leader.

Speaking at a call-in request meeting yesterday to discuss the sale of the library to Henry Boot, council leader Jon Collins said the sale will “help deliver a manifesto commitment for a new library.”

He was challenged by Cllr Andrew Rule who said there had been a lack of consultation over the sale of Nottingham Central Library.

Countering this, Collins said: “If at the end of a 12 month pre-contract period we’re not happy, the sale won’t go ahead.”

Tory councillor Georgina Culley told the meeting: “This is about providing office space, not investing in libraries.”

The call-in request was defeated with just one Tory councillor backing it.

Collins added: “We are fully committed to not just keeping the Central Library open, but to investing in it so it remains open, relevant and popular for many years to come.

“By selling the Angel Row site to developers, we can invest in a new and updated library facility which otherwise we couldn’t do. By bringing inward investment to the city, Nottingham gets a new library, new grade A office space and new jobs. This is a good deal for Nottingham and delivers a new Central Library at virtually no cost to local taxpayers, and without this deal there would be no new library – just good intentions. It builds on our track record in recent years of investing in modern neighbourhood libraries in contrast to some councils facing budget cuts which have closed libraries to make savings.

“This investment is important because modern central libraries should be a destination which attracts large numbers of people not only to borrow free books but so much more. This site is not befitting of a city of Nottingham’s stature and doesn’t meet modern standards and expectations or the changing needs of library users.

“Our working assumption and our focus at the moment is on providing upgraded Central Library facilities on the existing site but there are other options we are exploring to see if better value and a better outcome can be achieved.

“Proposals are at a very early stage but we will of course consult with people in due course when our proposals are more refined.”

Developer Henry Boot revealed last month that it is set to transform Nottingham’s Central Library into a 120,000 sq ft Grade A office scheme after the City Council said that it was offloading the building.