Instead Devon County Council plans to focus its attention on the ‘cheaper’ Civic Centre annex

Plans to move Devon County Council staff from Barnstaple Civic Centre into the town’s library have been dropped.

The council said the potential cost of redeveloping the library had escalated to £4million and this together with lengthy delays had prompted it to look at alternative premises.

Instead it plans to convert the Civic Centre Annex into a modern open plan office.

A feasibility study into has confirmed the proposed new accommodation would be possible for less than £3 million and could be delivered sooner with less disruption to staff and the public than developing the library.

Councillor John Clatworthy, the county cabinet member with responsibility for council property, said: “It would be wrong to rush head-long into a project at the library when we can spend £1 million less moving to alternative accommodation which is also suitable.

“It’s prudent that we looked at the options, and I’m pleased that a better solution has been found.”

It also means that there will be no changes to the current library space or occupation by the North Devon Athenaeum.

But a decision still needs to be made on the long term plans for North Devon Records Office.

The council says it still needs to save money due to cuts in Government funding and intends to talk to all the key stakeholders in coming weeks about how it will make the savings needed.