Bradford Central Library shut as serious fire risk

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford Central Library at Jacob's Well in the city centre Bradford Central Library at Jacob's Well in the city centre

Bradford Central Library has been closed after being identified as a serious fire risk.

The very future of the building which also contains the district’s archive is now in doubt after it was found that emergency work to make its central staircase safe could cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousand of pounds.

Emergency meetings are being held between Bradford Council officers and councillors to establish just how much the work will cost and whether the authority can afford it or whether the district’s archives and offices will be moved elsewhere. A decision will be made within the next few weeks.

Councillor David Green, the Council’s executive member responsible for culture, stressed that the public had not been put at risk, but said that once the fire risk had been identified it needed to be addressed.

He also said that there was absolutely no asbestos risk.

The fire issue was picked up by Building Control officers earlier this year, but became more of a problem when Health and Safety officers carried out a routine check last week.

“The Council has to act once a potential issue has been identified,” Coun Green said.

“The building was built to 1960s fire regulation standards and the staircase is open which means if there was a blaze it would act as a chimney.

“We are putting in new fire doors and the public areas will then meet the fire regulations once the staircase is walled in.

“But there will still be an issue in that building so we are only re-opening first two floors.

“The financial commitment to make the stairwells safe is a large one and we need to do that costing properly.

“We are committed to ensuring that these services will be open to the public as soon as possible. We have no intention of closing the library or archive services in Bradford.”

The ground floor and first floor will close for four days from Monday to allow £20,000 of emergency safety work to be carried out on the staircase.

But the remaining floors, housing meeting rooms, the non-fiction collection, local studies, archives and offices, will be closed until further notice.

If the cash is not found for the work, alternative library space will have to be found.

Groups which regularly meet at the library, were told yesterday that the rooms would not be not available.

Anyone with outstanding loans is asked to renew via the online service (02174) 430094 or return items to another library.

Comments (26)

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8:57am Sat 15 Oct 11

MontyLeMar says...

Is there no end to the collapse of Bradford? I would have thought this building should have had a fire safety check annually. It's a bit suspicious that in the grip of council cost cutting they suddenly find an urgent excuse to shut the building. And I'd be very surprised if there is no asbestos risk. This building was constructed in an era when asbestos was considered to be as safe as cotton wool. But let's face it, asbestos is still safe - so long as you leave it alone.
Is there no end to the collapse of Bradford? I would have thought this building should have had a fire safety check annually. It's a bit suspicious that in the grip of council cost cutting they suddenly find an urgent excuse to shut the building. And I'd be very surprised if there is no asbestos risk. This building was constructed in an era when asbestos was considered to be as safe as cotton wool. But let's face it, asbestos is still safe - so long as you leave it alone. MontyLeMar

9:05am Sat 15 Oct 11

same old same old says...

Why not put the 'regeneration' grants recently reported about towards the rebuild. Surely the saving of a public building used by all is more important than improving peoples privately bought homes.

A university city without a library, awesome!
Why not put the 'regeneration' grants recently reported about towards the rebuild. Surely the saving of a public building used by all is more important than improving peoples privately bought homes. A university city without a library, awesome! same old same old

9:23am Sat 15 Oct 11

futurethinking says...

We don't want another Odeon on our hands! Surely a few £10k's is small fry compared to the cost of abandoning or redeveloping this place in the short term.

As Monty said, this sounds like typical council short sighted incompetence, wanting to save money in the short term with little care for the future.

I think its a nice building from its era, big and bold, a statement from more prosperous times.

We've pulled down most the concrete monstrocities, but we must keep a few good examples. I think this building should definitely have a place in Bradfords history.

Does the council have no imagination? If the library services are struggling, why not convert some floors into office space? Make some money back whilst maintaining a building rather than leaving it to rot.

Surely its cheaper to put some new glazing, carpets and a lick of paint than it is to demolish and rebuild!
We don't want another Odeon on our hands! Surely a few £10k's is small fry compared to the cost of abandoning or redeveloping this place in the short term. As Monty said, this sounds like typical council short sighted incompetence, wanting to save money in the short term with little care for the future. I think its a nice building from its era, big and bold, a statement from more prosperous times. We've pulled down most the concrete monstrocities, but we must keep a few good examples. I think this building should definitely have a place in Bradfords history. Does the council have no imagination? If the library services are struggling, why not convert some floors into office space? Make some money back whilst maintaining a building rather than leaving it to rot. Surely its cheaper to put some new glazing, carpets and a lick of paint than it is to demolish and rebuild! futurethinking

9:42am Sat 15 Oct 11

Northybynature says...

The building was built to conform to 1960 fire regulations, it is now 2011. I am sure somewhere in between the fire regulations were updated and should the risk not have been detected earlier? Annual inspections?

Like same old same old stated "a university city without a library, awesome!"

Yes of course safety is of paramount importance, but closing the whole building down seems a little extreme.

Let us wait and see how Bradford Council prioritise this issue, that is if they do.
The building was built to conform to 1960 fire regulations, it is now 2011. I am sure somewhere in between the fire regulations were updated and should the risk not have been detected earlier? Annual inspections? Like same old same old stated "a university city without a library, awesome!" Yes of course safety is of paramount importance, but closing the whole building down seems a little extreme. Let us wait and see how Bradford Council prioritise this issue, that is if they do. Northybynature

10:18am Sat 15 Oct 11

Graham Barker says...

This is a 'paper' problem caused by rising safety standards, not by any deterioration of the building. In these desperately cash-strapped times, surely there is a cheaper and less drastic solution available? Like more fire extinguishers? Fire buckets? Regular visual inspections? The council seems to be stuck in old ways of thinking that we really can't afford any more.
This is a 'paper' problem caused by rising safety standards, not by any deterioration of the building. In these desperately cash-strapped times, surely there is a cheaper and less drastic solution available? Like more fire extinguishers? Fire buckets? Regular visual inspections? The council seems to be stuck in old ways of thinking that we really can't afford any more. Graham Barker

11:34am Sat 15 Oct 11

Lockjaw says...

The building hasn't been fit for purpose for years. Libraries are a Cinderella service that has been robbed of money to pay for other schemes across the Council. It should have been relocated to Centenary Square when that was redeveloped. Maybe the Council should insist that a library is incorporated into the Westfield development, much as Shipley Library was years ago.
Or, like the rest of Bradford, convert it into a pub/betting shop/druggie centre - a thin in which Bradford excels!
The building hasn't been fit for purpose for years. Libraries are a Cinderella service that has been robbed of money to pay for other schemes across the Council. It should have been relocated to Centenary Square when that was redeveloped. Maybe the Council should insist that a library is incorporated into the Westfield development, much as Shipley Library was years ago. Or, like the rest of Bradford, convert it into a pub/betting shop/druggie centre - a thin in which Bradford excels! Lockjaw

1:08pm Sat 15 Oct 11

mad matt says...

The antics of this council get more like a Monty Python script day by day!
The antics of this council get more like a Monty Python script day by day! mad matt

1:53pm Sat 15 Oct 11

hemmy says...

Graham Barker wrote:
This is a 'paper' problem caused by rising safety standards, not by any deterioration of the building. In these desperately cash-strapped times, surely there is a cheaper and less drastic solution available? Like more fire extinguishers? Fire buckets? Regular visual inspections? The council seems to be stuck in old ways of thinking that we really can't afford any more.
too much paper? don't tell the council they'd take the books out and think problem solved.
[quote][p][bold]Graham Barker[/bold] wrote: This is a 'paper' problem caused by rising safety standards, not by any deterioration of the building. In these desperately cash-strapped times, surely there is a cheaper and less drastic solution available? Like more fire extinguishers? Fire buckets? Regular visual inspections? The council seems to be stuck in old ways of thinking that we really can't afford any more.[/p][/quote]too much paper? don't tell the council they'd take the books out and think problem solved. hemmy

3:20pm Sat 15 Oct 11

Steve30d says...

silica aerogel panelling +fire doors?
silica aerogel panelling +fire doors? Steve30d

3:36pm Sat 15 Oct 11

angry bradfordian says...

Northybynature wrote:
The building was built to conform to 1960 fire regulations, it is now 2011. I am sure somewhere in between the fire regulations were updated and should the risk not have been detected earlier? Annual inspections?

Like same old same old stated "a university city without a library, awesome!"

Yes of course safety is of paramount importance, but closing the whole building down seems a little extreme.

Let us wait and see how Bradford Council prioritise this issue, that is if they do.
I agree. Building regulations don't change so dramatically in a year that buildings suddenly become unsafe. Either something has been ignored in the past or this is the prelude to telling us that its uneconomical to keep open, like the pools.
After all, we've got the fag packet pond to pay for just across Centenery Square!
[quote][p][bold]Northybynature[/bold] wrote: The building was built to conform to 1960 fire regulations, it is now 2011. I am sure somewhere in between the fire regulations were updated and should the risk not have been detected earlier? Annual inspections? Like same old same old stated "a university city without a library, awesome!" Yes of course safety is of paramount importance, but closing the whole building down seems a little extreme. Let us wait and see how Bradford Council prioritise this issue, that is if they do.[/p][/quote]I agree. Building regulations don't change so dramatically in a year that buildings suddenly become unsafe. Either something has been ignored in the past or this is the prelude to telling us that its uneconomical to keep open, like the pools. After all, we've got the fag packet pond to pay for just across Centenery Square! angry bradfordian

4:09pm Sat 15 Oct 11

basil fawlty says...

What a ridiculous over the top reaction. If this bunch were in charge of everything we wouldnt be allowed to drive a car or walk the streets.
What a ridiculous over the top reaction. If this bunch were in charge of everything we wouldnt be allowed to drive a car or walk the streets. basil fawlty

5:40pm Sat 15 Oct 11

Up with the partridge says...

MontyLeMar wrote:
Is there no end to the collapse of Bradford? I would have thought this building should have had a fire safety check annually. It's a bit suspicious that in the grip of council cost cutting they suddenly find an urgent excuse to shut the building. And I'd be very surprised if there is no asbestos risk. This building was constructed in an era when asbestos was considered to be as safe as cotton wool. But let's face it, asbestos is still safe - so long as you leave it alone.
Well said I could not agree more, nor could anyone else with any sense!
[quote][p][bold]MontyLeMar[/bold] wrote: Is there no end to the collapse of Bradford? I would have thought this building should have had a fire safety check annually. It's a bit suspicious that in the grip of council cost cutting they suddenly find an urgent excuse to shut the building. And I'd be very surprised if there is no asbestos risk. This building was constructed in an era when asbestos was considered to be as safe as cotton wool. But let's face it, asbestos is still safe - so long as you leave it alone.[/p][/quote]Well said I could not agree more, nor could anyone else with any sense! Up with the partridge

5:43pm Sat 15 Oct 11

old pecker says...

Basil Fawlty ! please note we can only drive in bradford IF
Basil Fawlty ! please note we can only drive in bradford IF old pecker

8:31pm Sat 15 Oct 11

Nigels says...

If you think closing Bradford library for hopefully, a few weeks, a major library in SuttonColdfield, Birmingham has been closed for well over two years now. As far as I'm aware it is still closed.
If you think closing Bradford library for hopefully, a few weeks, a major library in SuttonColdfield, Birmingham has been closed for well over two years now. As far as I'm aware it is still closed. Nigels

8:38pm Sat 15 Oct 11

roksee says...

Bradford council should be shut down because of their Hazard to the general public, the amount of flak they get, surely someone in their should be taking notice.
Bradford council should be shut down because of their Hazard to the general public, the amount of flak they get, surely someone in their should be taking notice. roksee

9:09pm Sat 15 Oct 11

Mannin says...

Standards of safety do change, but upgrades to standards in Building Control are not retrospective. What have the Health & Safety Officers & Senior Managers been doing all these years if they could not sort this out before it comes to this.
Shame on you lot.
Standards of safety do change, but upgrades to standards in Building Control are not retrospective. What have the Health & Safety Officers & Senior Managers been doing all these years if they could not sort this out before it comes to this. Shame on you lot. Mannin

10:00pm Sat 15 Oct 11

BagOfMonkeys says...

Ok so we all know that the council is as effective as a chocolate fireguard. The good folk adding their comments to yet another blow to our once grand and glorious city do seem more intelligent than them that have been elected. So when is someone going to start a "lets get a better deal for Bradford" party to challenge these Con Lab and Lib numpties in the next election?
Ok so we all know that the council is as effective as a chocolate fireguard. The good folk adding their comments to yet another blow to our once grand and glorious city do seem more intelligent than them that have been elected. So when is someone going to start a "lets get a better deal for Bradford" party to challenge these Con Lab and Lib numpties in the next election? BagOfMonkeys

10:54pm Sat 15 Oct 11

shornoff says...

Bradford library or, rather the personnel there, are brilliant. Wonderful service. I wish you well. You're all stars.
Bradford library or, rather the personnel there, are brilliant. Wonderful service. I wish you well. You're all stars. shornoff

7:09am Sun 16 Oct 11

Northybynature says...

roksee wrote:
Bradford council should be shut down because of their Hazard to the general public, the amount of flak they get, surely someone in their should be taking notice.
I think roksee has found the solution. Shut the council down. The library will be safe in days, the city centre rebuild will be completed, the Odeon will be made use of, swimming baths will not be closed down and Bradford will have some money to spend in places that should have been prioritised years ago.
[quote][p][bold]roksee[/bold] wrote: Bradford council should be shut down because of their Hazard to the general public, the amount of flak they get, surely someone in their should be taking notice.[/p][/quote]I think roksee has found the solution. Shut the council down. The library will be safe in days, the city centre rebuild will be completed, the Odeon will be made use of, swimming baths will not be closed down and Bradford will have some money to spend in places that should have been prioritised years ago. Northybynature

12:18pm Sun 16 Oct 11

puddingandpi says...

That'll be the end of that then. It'll never re-open - too expensive & unnecessary now everyone has google & wikipedia.
They've closed it down without having to go through the rigmarole of pretence of justification, public enquiries, petitions, protests etc. Sneaky devils.
That'll be the end of that then. It'll never re-open - too expensive & unnecessary now everyone has google & wikipedia. They've closed it down without having to go through the rigmarole of pretence of justification, public enquiries, petitions, protests etc. Sneaky devils. puddingandpi

5:46pm Sun 16 Oct 11

yorkshiredude says...

Gutted, as I was about to get my library card!
Gutted, as I was about to get my library card! yorkshiredude

11:10pm Sun 16 Oct 11

darksatanicmills says...

Of course the staff are still expected to go to work there, fire risk or not. The council is obviously such a caring employer ! Protect the public, let the staff burn to death, nice.
Of course the staff are still expected to go to work there, fire risk or not. The council is obviously such a caring employer ! Protect the public, let the staff burn to death, nice. darksatanicmills

1:25pm Mon 17 Oct 11

kirkstallbantam says...

Shame on you Bradford council.

This should've been indentified sooner. I believe this is a cover up- they've probably been planning this for months.

They'll quite happily spend millions on fees for Odsal stadium or the park fiasco.

Final nail in the coffin of a once proud City.

Disgraceful.
Shame on you Bradford council. This should've been indentified sooner. I believe this is a cover up- they've probably been planning this for months. They'll quite happily spend millions on fees for Odsal stadium or the park fiasco. Final nail in the coffin of a once proud City. Disgraceful. kirkstallbantam

4:07pm Mon 17 Oct 11

born n bred says...

futurethinking wrote:
We don't want another Odeon on our hands! Surely a few £10k's is small fry compared to the cost of abandoning or redeveloping this place in the short term.

As Monty said, this sounds like typical council short sighted incompetence, wanting to save money in the short term with little care for the future.

I think its a nice building from its era, big and bold, a statement from more prosperous times.

We've pulled down most the concrete monstrocities, but we must keep a few good examples. I think this building should definitely have a place in Bradfords history.

Does the council have no imagination? If the library services are struggling, why not convert some floors into office space? Make some money back whilst maintaining a building rather than leaving it to rot.

Surely its cheaper to put some new glazing, carpets and a lick of paint than it is to demolish and rebuild!
does the council have no imagination....you answered your own question in your piece I think
[quote][p][bold]futurethinking[/bold] wrote: We don't want another Odeon on our hands! Surely a few £10k's is small fry compared to the cost of abandoning or redeveloping this place in the short term. As Monty said, this sounds like typical council short sighted incompetence, wanting to save money in the short term with little care for the future. I think its a nice building from its era, big and bold, a statement from more prosperous times. We've pulled down most the concrete monstrocities, but we must keep a few good examples. I think this building should definitely have a place in Bradfords history. Does the council have no imagination? If the library services are struggling, why not convert some floors into office space? Make some money back whilst maintaining a building rather than leaving it to rot. Surely its cheaper to put some new glazing, carpets and a lick of paint than it is to demolish and rebuild![/p][/quote]does the council have no imagination....you answered your own question in your piece I think born n bred

4:42pm Mon 17 Oct 11

Joedavid says...

A 60's building, are there many of those built at that time still standing?
I would think purhaps only this library and the block with the Media Museum still standing.
A 60's building, are there many of those built at that time still standing? I would think purhaps only this library and the block with the Media Museum still standing. Joedavid

4:46pm Wed 19 Oct 11

J B PRIESTLEY says...

After viewing the incredible architecture still intact at the old Odean cinema in Bradford, can this not be adapted to house the central library - this must, at least be up for debate???
After viewing the incredible architecture still intact at the old Odean cinema in Bradford, can this not be adapted to house the central library - this must, at least be up for debate??? J B PRIESTLEY

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