B&NES Council has just published its latest proposals to combine Midsomer Norton’s Library and One Stop Shop, with the Cabinet Member for Community Services being asked to give their go-ahead.
Following an appraisal of the options, a review of local needs and public consultation, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services is being asked to give the go-ahead to proposals to bring both services together at its existing premises in The Hollies, located across the street from the old building.
The Council will be working with the Town Council and local community to identify the best use of the building vacated by the Library to support the local economy and the wider community aspirations for the town centre and High Street.
There remains widespread public support for these changes alongside a commitment from the Council to regenerate the town centre.
The increased floor space available in the Library, as a result of moving to the Hollies, together with the refurbishment and introduction of new technology, will guarantee a long term sustainable future for the Library in the town as well opening up new opportunities to regenerate the high street.
Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North) Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for us to combine and enhance our services and encourage more people through the door.
“We think libraries are really important as places where everyone in the community can access support, knowledge, culture and events to help them reach their full potential which is why we are investing about a third of a million pounds in these improvements.
“At a time when all Councils are having to make savings, integrating these two services in Midsomer Norton will ensure that our Library and One Stop Shop service has a sustainable, long-term future – helping to deliver over £200,000 in efficiency savings every year towards our budget pressures of over £37m whilst protecting all the services valued by local people.
This is alongside opening up new opportunities to attract investment into the town centre.
The plans for integrating Midsomer Norton Library and One Stop Shop are part of the Council’s Modern Libraries Programme (with the backing of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport) which has been set up to transform library services to ensure – with investment – that the Council can continue to ‘best meet’ the needs of customers.
B&NES Council say the combined Library and One Stop Shop in Keynsham has been a ‘huge success’ with a significantly increased footfall and rise in popularity, following similar improvements several years ago.
More information on the Modern Libraries Programme can be found on the Council’s website www.bathnes.gov.uk/modernlibrary.