A DECISION taken nearly six years ago to move Thornbury library has been scrapped.
South Gloucestershire Council’s previous Conservative administration approved the service’s relocation from its current building in St Mary Street to Turnberrie’s Community Centre back in December 2017, but it has been left hanging ever since.
Now the Liberal Democrat/Labour coalition which took over in May has overturned the decision, which proved unpopular during the original public consultation, because it stands in the way of other potential plans to develop the community centre in Bath Road.
A report to cabinet on October 5, said the council was working with the Armstrong Hall and Turnberries Trusts on a number of options for the community centre.
It said: “The current commitment to relocate the library into Turnberries restricts this process and revocation of the current cabinet decision is required in order to progress the business case.
“Once the business case has been completed and a decision reached on the future of Turnberries, a new options report for the replacement of Thornbury library will be developed.”
Ward councillor and cabinet member Maggie Tyrrell said she welcomed the decision.
Cllr Tyrrell told the meeting: “I suspect that most people in the town are completely oblivious of the fact that the previous decision still stood.
“Since 2017 we’ve had about 1,000 new houses added to the town, so those people won’t be aware of it at all.
“The original decision was accompanied by a consultation that overwhelmingly said people in the town didn’t want the library to move to Turnberries, so hopefully this decision will prove to be very popular.
“It will also give us a bit more flexibility on how we deal with the property, and for Turnberries it will allow them to plan its future without being inhibited by the uncertainty that surrounded the fact that the library was supposed to move in there but hasn’t.”
Cabinet member for resources Adam Monk (Labour, Filton) said: “There is an opportunity to consult again with the public in Thornbury and understand what they’re looking for so we can identify a solution that works for the local people.”
He said the council’s capital programme for major projects included the assumption of money coming in from the sale of the library building in St Mary Street, so this cash would have to be found from elsewhere if the library did not relocate.
The cabinet report said: “Over the last 10 years there has been a programme of works updating and refurbishing libraries.
“Funding to carry out works to Thornbury library was set aside, but due to the long-term viability of the current building Thornbury remained the only library where no work was carried out.
“The building is in poor condition.”
It said the property required a new roof, windows and “complete replacement of electrical services together with works to the heating system and other upgrades”.
“In addition there is evidence of some potential structural issues which are currently being investigated,” it said.
The report did not say what the options might be for Turnberries’ future use.
By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service