Funding bids to move Bideford Library into The Burton could be submitted next year

Deputy mayor Doug Bushby says he believes the library should move to Bridge Buildings.

Deputy mayor Doug Bushby says he believes the library should move to Bridge Buildings. - Credit: Archant

Bideford Library could be moving into a brand new two-storey extension to The Burton - but the deputy mayor of the town has other plans. What do you think? Vote in our poll here.

Plans to build a two-storey extension to The Burton in Bideford to house the town’s library are pressing ahead.

An action plan for the library move has been drawn up, and Devon County Council said a formal funding bid should be submitted in January.

But the deputy mayor of Bideford is calling on the council to rethink its plans.

Councillor Doug Bushby said he believes Bridge Buildings, which are currently being sold by Torridge District Council (TDC), would be a better option.

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He said: “Devon County Council (DCC) has set aside over £1million for a new library in Bideford, but the actual cost is going to be many times more, so the new library is years away from reality.

“The bridge buildings are for sale now at an asking price of £500,000 and would make an excellent library as it is very large, has lifts to all floors and disabled access, plus it is right next to the car park.

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“For a little amount of money, Bideford could have a new library very quickly rather than having to wait years for something that may never happen.

“Another bonus is that this iconic building would remain in public ownership.”

The freehold of Bridge Buildings is currently on the market as part of Torridge’s cost-cutting ‘transformation’ programme.

Councillor David Hurley, lead member for property and procurement at TDC, said: “In designing a library that is fit for the future many options were considered, a couple of those being whether the existing library could be adapted or whether the service could be relocated to Bridge Buildings.

“We understand that in both cases those options were discounted by the county council as the buildings were not considered suitable to accommodate a library of the future.”

A spokesman for Devon County Council said the current library needs were not adequate, and that Libraries Unlimited at The Burton had been developing the plans.

He said: “This combined facility would involve a two storey extension to the existing Burton gallery, incorporating a significant amount of shared space. We are not currently considering the district council-owned Bridge Building as a viable alternative.”

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