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Deferral proposed for Hale End Library Local plan

The Council has today published a report setting out proposals to defer an improvement plan to relocate and remodel the Library Local at Hale End.

Meanwhile, a public consultation into the proposal to relocate and remodel the Library Locals at Higham Hill and Wood Street and remodel and refurbish the site at Lea Bridge would continue as planned.

Earlier this month, the Council detailed a Library Local improvement proposal as part of a vision for the facilities to match up to the best public libraries in London. The proposal, on which the Council will consult, is all about making Library Locals even better, not reducing the number of libraries.

A major public consultation into the proposal has been organised – but due to rumours and wrong information with regard to the Hale End site, the Council is proposing to defer that element for up to a year so the remaining parts of the improvement proposal can be consulted on in a detailed and meaningful way.

Councillor Sharon Waldron, Cabinet Member for Digital and Customer Services, said: “We know local libraries are a well-loved service, which is why we’re committed to investing in them and making them better at a time when neighbouring authorities are reducing or closing theirs – something we have no intention of doing.

“As part of our ultimate goal to improve the facilities for individuals and families across Waltham Forest, it’s important we’re able to have clear and open conversations with residents about our proposal in order to help shape the work we’re trying to do.

“Due to rumours and confusion over the plan for the Hale End site, we’re proposing to defer that element to allow for ongoing discussions with library users and non-users and for officers to have even more time to review usage over the coming months.”

The public consultation into the proposal to relocate and remodel the Library Locals at Higham Hill and Wood Street and remodel and refurbish the site at Lea Bridge would continue as intended.

Consultation dates will be announced in due course, and the Council can confirm it will involve:

  • Displays in all libraries including information leaflets

  • Online consultation survey – with print copies available in libraries

  • Two public meetings per library

  • Stakeholder meetings 

  • Community Ward Forums, if requested by Cllrs.

  • Meetings with local Cllrs

  • Face to face interviews with non-users

  • Pop-up focus groups with young people, both within libraries and on-street to capture both young users and non-users

  • Meetings with other interested groups

The proposed new-look Library Locals aim to recognise the varying needs of different age groups and support younger people to get the most from their library experience. And, the proposed relocations are designed to ensure the Council continues to deliver its commitment of ensuring that every resident lives within 1.5 miles of their nearest Library Local.

Relocating Library Locals would also result in a more cost-effective service, provide greater accessibility for residents, enable reinvestment in the service and create opportunities for the old sites to be considered for much-needed new homes.

Currently, Higham Hill Library’s services are affected by the poor condition of the building, which was classed as being beyond its useful life in 2011. Relocation would provide the opportunity for the Library Local to be at the centre of a new community hub, either directly delivering or facilitating services that will support the learning, employment and social and cultural aspirations of local residents.

Wood Street Library, which has also been assessed as being beyond its useful life, has significant maintenance costs. It is proposed it would be relocated further down Wood Street, within a new community space.

Lea Bridge Library underwent a £1.1 million refurbishment in 2010, which means the building needs limited remodelling to bring it up to the standard the Council is seeking as part of its vision for Library Locals.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the Council by following @wfcouncil on Twitter, and have your say by participating in the consultation.

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