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Council spends £1,000 to prepare old Kirkbymoorside library for renovation
ANOTHER step has been taken in the long-running saga over the future of the Old Library building in Kirkbymoorside.
After some discussion, members of Kirkbymoorside Town Council agreed at their last meeting to spend £1,000 on the production of plans and a technical specification for some further renovation of the Old Library, to the level required for a planning permission application and a tender document.
Plans to revamp the building at a cost of up to £175,000 two years ago, mainly to rehouse the town council offices, caused uproar in the town.
The proposal led to the then mayor Coun Joe Coughlan resigning in protest, followed by acrimonious and heated public meetings and the resignation of several other councillors.
The arguments at the time varied as to whether it was appropriate to spend such a large sum of local taxpayers’ money on the project, while others were concerned whether the council would be held legally accountable if it did not go ahead with the plan.
Since then, some work – at a cost of several thousand pounds – has been carried out on the former North Yorkshire County Council building to preserve and update the fabric, in the hope of making it available and useable rent-free for community groups.
But the need for some further repair work was then discovered, especially concerning the floor, before it can be used by groups.
The debate comes amid a community consultation exercise with residents which includes specific questions about the future of the building.
At the meeting, some members felt they should hold fire on any further expenditure until they knew the outcome of that survey otherwise it could be construed as pre-empting the questions being asked.
But others argued they should spend the £1,000 rather than do nothing for a further two months, when it is hoped the results of the consultation are known, so as to make it useable.
It would also add value to the building so they would not be “losing” the money.
Members heard that there was a general feeling in town that residents wanted the Old Library to be kept for the community as long as it was viable, rather than be put on the market.