Bideford Library will no longer be moving into The Burton – and the search is on for a new alternative site.
Plans to move Bideford Library into The Burton were first floated in 2013 and The Burton at Bideford and Libraries Unlimited (LUL) have been in discussion since then.
But this week both organisations have mutually agreed that while they will continue to work closely on joint community projects, the relocation of the library to The Burton will not go ahead.
Instead, Libraries Unlimited will continue to work with commissioners at Devon County Council to explore suitable alternative sites for Bideford Library.
Plans to grow the gallery and museum will be developed as a solo project.
Burton executive director, Chris Kirby said: “Incorporating the library into our future plans was an interesting opportunity and one which The Burton and Libraries Unlimited explored fully and creatively.
“However after wide-spread discussions, we’ve mutually decided that it’s more effective for us to develop our initiatives separately.
“The Burton will continue to work with all of the local stakeholders who have been part of the Burton capital project proposal to date, and develop plans for an increasingly exciting culture and heritage offering for Bideford.
“We’ll reveal more about what that will entail in the coming months.”
Judith Gentry, chair of trustees at The Burton, added: “This is an important moment for The Burton at Bideford as we develop our plans for Burton 2020.
“Naturally, both we and Libraries Unlimited are disappointed that the joint initiative has not turned out to be the best opportunity, but we look forward to continuing to work together and supporting each other’s work through joint community projects.
“As a result of recently being awarded the prestigious status of National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) by Arts Council England, this activity will only increase.
“This is because the NPO funding is enabling us to provide two new arts roles in the community, one of which is a Learning post so we can work more closely with LUL to serve the needs of schools and the community through events and workshops.”
Ciara Eastell, chief executive of Libraries Unlimited said: “We remain committed to providing high-quality and modern library services to the people of Bideford and surrounding areas, and whilst we are disappointed not to take forward this ambitious project, we are excited to continue our work with The Burton on other local projects, particularly as we become an NPO.”
Last year deputy Bideford mayor Doug Bushby said he felt the library should move to Bridge Buildings, but DCC said it was not considering it as a ‘viable alternative’.
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