Elland library £3m refurbish plan will create multi-purpose hub for community

Elland library
Elland library

Around £3 million will be spent by Calderdale Council refurbishing Elland Library into a multi-purpose hub and creating a ten-bed respite care unit at Westgarth.

Members of Calderdale Council’s Corporate and Facilities Asset Management Board were given an update on the proposed projects when it met at Halifax Town Hall.

MORE NEWS: Halifax schoolgirl, nine, dies after eating ice cream on family holiday

Coun John Ford (Con, Elland) set the ball rolling with questions about how extensive work might be and if the building would have to close completely while it went on – he assumed it would.

Work to completely renovate Elland Library on Coronation Street would be likely to take a year and it is likely a level of library service provision and Customer First service will have to be relocated to the council’s cash office at Southgate while £1.75 million worth of works are undertaken.

The aim is to bring the floor of the library building into use, provide a home for some services and create community space, as well as the front-of-house library, councillors heard.

Initial cost projections had risen from £1.1 million to around £1.75 million as brief became more comprehensive with the building to become a major “hub” in the town.

Officers said: “It will be a true optimisation of the facilities and a full refurbishment, reconfiguring the library space to bring it into the 21st century.”

It is likely to get a design similar to that of the new Central Library which opened in Halifax next to the Piece Hall around 18 months ago.

A lift will be installed as upstairs space is given a more modern environment with lots of room for a community meeting place, truly bringing the building into full use.

Among services which will be housed in it, a separate ground floor entrance will be created for a borough-wide children’s social services hub which will be based there.

Meetings have also been held with West Yorkshire Police who may be interested in using the building as a base – if this option was taken up some storage space would be needed for some police items.

Coun Geraldine Carter (Con, Ryburn) said the building needed a facelift – it did not look very attractive when coming down Victoria Road when it appeared noticeably unkempt.

Board chair Coun Barry Collins (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) said it would receive a full refurbishment.

“The council promised people in Elland it would create a genuine community hub and as the design process develops that is what we are looking to provide,” he said.

There was the possibility some of the space currently vacant could be hired out. Ward forums or Town Board meetings could be held there, said Coun Collins.

He asked about proposals for Westgarth, the former children’s home site on Victoria Road, officers replying it was proposed to create a 10-bed respite unit with two independent living units.

Complete refurbishment to the necessary specifications would come in at a cost of about £1.2 million.

Coun Collins said about the schemes together: “It is around £3 million of investment. I hope people accept this as the council’s commitment to Elland.”