£4m repairs bill could force central library move

Bradford's Central Library which may be moved to new premises

Bradford's Central Library which may be moved to new premises

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford Chief Reporter

Bradford Council has admitted it may have to relocate the city’s central library after investigations revealed it will cost £4 million of taxpayers’ money to make the current building safe.

Earlier this month, the Telegraph & Argus exclusively revealed that the eight-floor building had been forced to close after being identified as a serious fire risk.

The ground floor and first floor are now open to the public after the staircase on those floors was fire-protected.

But emergency work still has to be done to make the whole of the central staircase safe because, in its current state, it would act as a chimney if there was a fire.

Work to make the whole building fit for purpose was initially estimated at hundreds of thousands of pounds, but further investigations have found that it will cost an estimated £2 million for backlog maintenance work and £2 million for the fire improvements.

An external fire escape needs erecting, the whole building needs re-wiring, the roof needs replacing as well as work on the internal staircase.

The remaining six floors, housing the district’s archive and meeting rooms, will stay closed until Bradford Council officers decide what is the most cost-effective way of delivering the city centre library services, including whether to carry out the essential work.

Councillor David Green, the Council’s executive member responsible for culture, said that all options needed to be looked at.

“The situation is that the library is certainly open and continues to provide services in the medium term which is 18 months to two years,” he said.

“But given the cost of the repairs, apart from the fact we haven’t got £4 million, we have to look at alternative options to continue the provision of the library and archive service in Bradford city centre.

“We may look at alternative accommodation and have asked officers to go and look at some options.

“If we can do that for a reasonable and sensible sum of money in a building that is accessible to the public, we will look at that.”

At the moment there is no access to the public toilets and disabled access is also limited. Two days’ notice has to be given if anyone wants an item from the archives.

Coun Green said that the building could be sold off to a private sector company which could afford to do the improvements and use it as an office development.

Comments (26)

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9:10am Thu 27 Oct 11

futurethinking says...

AGHHHHHGHGHG!!!! So the council have essentially let the building rot and now needs a £2million back log of repairs and it now also needs a further £2million of fire improvements!

Surely the council must have some funding to maintain this city's centre of knowledge? What will happen to the archives if they relocate? Looks like another abandoned building will be on our hands. Seriously, £4 million? That's not a lot of money these days to renovated and keep a building of this size operational.

Some incompetent **** has let this building become this way in the first place through neglect. Someone needs a sacking.
AGHHHHHGHGHG!!!! So the council have essentially let the building rot and now needs a £2million back log of repairs and it now also needs a further £2million of fire improvements! Surely the council must have some funding to maintain this city's centre of knowledge? What will happen to the archives if they relocate? Looks like another abandoned building will be on our hands. Seriously, £4 million? That's not a lot of money these days to renovated and keep a building of this size operational. Some incompetent **** has let this building become this way in the first place through neglect. Someone needs a sacking. futurethinking
  • Score: 0

9:11am Thu 27 Oct 11

A650 says...

I can understand people suspecting a conspiracy here. I'm wondering if many of these works actually need doing and whether it's a smokescreen for just shutting the place and making savings.

Many buildings of this era were designed so the staircase would act as a chimney. For instance the Richmond Building at the Uni is built in the same way. It has vents at the top to let smoke out. Each floor has doors that date back to when it was built in the 60s, like the library. It doesn't need expensive remedial work so why does the library?

External staircase? Again the Richmond Building (12 floors) doesn't have one.

Now we here about re-wiring and roofing too.

I smell a rat.
I can understand people suspecting a conspiracy here. I'm wondering if many of these works actually need doing and whether it's a smokescreen for just shutting the place and making savings. Many buildings of this era were designed so the staircase would act as a chimney. For instance the Richmond Building at the Uni is built in the same way. It has vents at the top to let smoke out. Each floor has doors that date back to when it was built in the 60s, like the library. It doesn't need expensive remedial work so why does the library? External staircase? Again the Richmond Building (12 floors) doesn't have one. Now we here about re-wiring and roofing too. I smell a rat. A650
  • Score: 0

9:28am Thu 27 Oct 11

futurethinking says...

A650 wrote:
I can understand people suspecting a conspiracy here. I'm wondering if many of these works actually need doing and whether it's a smokescreen for just shutting the place and making savings.

Many buildings of this era were designed so the staircase would act as a chimney. For instance the Richmond Building at the Uni is built in the same way. It has vents at the top to let smoke out. Each floor has doors that date back to when it was built in the 60s, like the library. It doesn't need expensive remedial work so why does the library?

External staircase? Again the Richmond Building (12 floors) doesn't have one.

Now we here about re-wiring and roofing too.

I smell a rat.
Absolutely. Smells like ConDem cuts to public services. 'Lets close libraries; the internet will compensate.' So we end up with an illiterate university town.
[quote][p][bold]A650[/bold] wrote: I can understand people suspecting a conspiracy here. I'm wondering if many of these works actually need doing and whether it's a smokescreen for just shutting the place and making savings. Many buildings of this era were designed so the staircase would act as a chimney. For instance the Richmond Building at the Uni is built in the same way. It has vents at the top to let smoke out. Each floor has doors that date back to when it was built in the 60s, like the library. It doesn't need expensive remedial work so why does the library? External staircase? Again the Richmond Building (12 floors) doesn't have one. Now we here about re-wiring and roofing too. I smell a rat.[/p][/quote]Absolutely. Smells like ConDem cuts to public services. 'Lets close libraries; the internet will compensate.' So we end up with an illiterate university town. futurethinking
  • Score: 0

9:50am Thu 27 Oct 11

markjoe says...

futurethinking wrote:
A650 wrote:
I can understand people suspecting a conspiracy here. I'm wondering if many of these works actually need doing and whether it's a smokescreen for just shutting the place and making savings.

Many buildings of this era were designed so the staircase would act as a chimney. For instance the Richmond Building at the Uni is built in the same way. It has vents at the top to let smoke out. Each floor has doors that date back to when it was built in the 60s, like the library. It doesn't need expensive remedial work so why does the library?

External staircase? Again the Richmond Building (12 floors) doesn't have one.

Now we here about re-wiring and roofing too.

I smell a rat.
Absolutely. Smells like ConDem cuts to public services. 'Lets close libraries; the internet will compensate.' So we end up with an illiterate university town.
I think its merely a case of political points scoring with the council no matter who the party is and its about time it got sorted out. Strange how the council spending is going to be over budget, then this is to close
[quote][p][bold]futurethinking[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A650[/bold] wrote: I can understand people suspecting a conspiracy here. I'm wondering if many of these works actually need doing and whether it's a smokescreen for just shutting the place and making savings. Many buildings of this era were designed so the staircase would act as a chimney. For instance the Richmond Building at the Uni is built in the same way. It has vents at the top to let smoke out. Each floor has doors that date back to when it was built in the 60s, like the library. It doesn't need expensive remedial work so why does the library? External staircase? Again the Richmond Building (12 floors) doesn't have one. Now we here about re-wiring and roofing too. I smell a rat.[/p][/quote]Absolutely. Smells like ConDem cuts to public services. 'Lets close libraries; the internet will compensate.' So we end up with an illiterate university town.[/p][/quote]I think its merely a case of political points scoring with the council no matter who the party is and its about time it got sorted out. Strange how the council spending is going to be over budget, then this is to close markjoe
  • Score: 0

10:07am Thu 27 Oct 11

Mekon says...

Maybe they could move it to a renovated Odeon.
Maybe they could move it to a renovated Odeon. Mekon
  • Score: 0

10:19am Thu 27 Oct 11

A650 says...

Great that they're thinking of closing the central library when across the road there's a the new square and lake opening.

There's nothing like joined up thinking is there?
Great that they're thinking of closing the central library when across the road there's a the new square and lake opening. There's nothing like joined up thinking is there? A650
  • Score: 0

10:35am Thu 27 Oct 11

old pecker says...

knock it down and leave it empty for years , just like rest of bradford,,, well done the council !!!!!!
knock it down and leave it empty for years , just like rest of bradford,,, well done the council !!!!!! old pecker
  • Score: 0

10:54am Thu 27 Oct 11

Albion. says...

I think it should be knocked down and a hotel built and some offices ..........Oh! and a little park!...............
..
I think it should be knocked down and a hotel built and some offices ..........Oh! and a little park!............... .. Albion.
  • Score: 0

11:03am Thu 27 Oct 11

Joedavid says...

This could only happen in Bradford, sorry words have failed me.
This could only happen in Bradford, sorry words have failed me. Joedavid
  • Score: 0

11:18am Thu 27 Oct 11

angry bradfordian says...

'Coun Green said that the building could be sold off to a private sector company which could afford to do the improvements and use it as an office development.'
Why do these councillors seem to think that the private sector have a bottomless pit of money when it fact, they generally have much more stringent policies on spending money (banks excluded obviously!) They have shareholders to answer to, rather than councils who seem to spend what they want or money that isn't theirs.
'Coun Green said that the building could be sold off to a private sector company which could afford to do the improvements and use it as an office development.' Why do these councillors seem to think that the private sector have a bottomless pit of money when it fact, they generally have much more stringent policies on spending money (banks excluded obviously!) They have shareholders to answer to, rather than councils who seem to spend what they want or money that isn't theirs. angry bradfordian
  • Score: 0

11:28am Thu 27 Oct 11

Beckster55 says...

Disgraceful. Is Bradford trying to destroy itself? Every other town in the area has a decent library. Halifax, Huddersfield, Leeds, Harrogate etc. Even Wakefield are having a new one built. This city is rapidly becoming a laughing stock. I have to go to Leeds to drink, shop and now use the library. VERY annoyed
Disgraceful. Is Bradford trying to destroy itself? Every other town in the area has a decent library. Halifax, Huddersfield, Leeds, Harrogate etc. Even Wakefield are having a new one built. This city is rapidly becoming a laughing stock. I have to go to Leeds to drink, shop and now use the library. VERY annoyed Beckster55
  • Score: 0

11:31am Thu 27 Oct 11

littlemeghall says...

Whilst the reality may be different - although I doubt this - the tone of the article is Bradford Council shrugging their shoulders in a "well, it's only a library" stylee. Accurate quotes should be obtained and urgent steps should be taken to look at the commencement of works sooner rather than later. The money MUST be there. Con. Greenwood's quote in the final paragraph is astonishing. What on earth is going on in our city ?!
Whilst the reality may be different - although I doubt this - the tone of the article is Bradford Council shrugging their shoulders in a "well, it's only a library" stylee. Accurate quotes should be obtained and urgent steps should be taken to look at the commencement of works sooner rather than later. The money MUST be there. Con. Greenwood's quote in the final paragraph is astonishing. What on earth is going on in our city ?! littlemeghall
  • Score: 0

11:43am Thu 27 Oct 11

Joedavid says...

Beckster55 wrote:
Disgraceful. Is Bradford trying to destroy itself? Every other town in the area has a decent library. Halifax, Huddersfield, Leeds, Harrogate etc. Even Wakefield are having a new one built. This city is rapidly becoming a laughing stock. I have to go to Leeds to drink, shop and now use the library. VERY annoyed
Trying to distroy itself, think it might allready have done that.
Becoming a laughing stock it certainly is allready.
[quote][p][bold]Beckster55[/bold] wrote: Disgraceful. Is Bradford trying to destroy itself? Every other town in the area has a decent library. Halifax, Huddersfield, Leeds, Harrogate etc. Even Wakefield are having a new one built. This city is rapidly becoming a laughing stock. I have to go to Leeds to drink, shop and now use the library. VERY annoyed[/p][/quote]Trying to distroy itself, think it might allready have done that. Becoming a laughing stock it certainly is allready. Joedavid
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Thu 27 Oct 11

yorkshiredude says...

£4m for repairing the building is inherently better value in the long term than the PFI rubbish that will inevitably replace it. I think spending £4m now is the price to pay for short-term economic decisions that have taken place in the past.
£4m for repairing the building is inherently better value in the long term than the PFI rubbish that will inevitably replace it. I think spending £4m now is the price to pay for short-term economic decisions that have taken place in the past. yorkshiredude
  • Score: 0

12:31pm Thu 27 Oct 11

Avro says...

The £4m Council overspend on the Pond would have sorted the Library!!
The £4m Council overspend on the Pond would have sorted the Library!! Avro
  • Score: 0

12:40pm Thu 27 Oct 11

yer2002 says...

I say convert the old central police station into a grand central library with small cafe stalls, tables and benches, newsagents, information stands and other carts or parlours.

With the beautiful trees and central space the old police station could be a new library similar to the outside look of London's great central library.

The one we have now is 'ugly' to look at, unknown by many Bradfordians and deserves to be recognised.

Uplift the old library with a new fresh and very modern structure.

Of course that would be a great idea if not for obvious financial issues. I merely felt like stating my opinion, thank you.
I say convert the old central police station into a grand central library with small cafe stalls, tables and benches, newsagents, information stands and other carts or parlours. With the beautiful trees and central space the old police station could be a new library similar to the outside look of London's great central library. The one we have now is 'ugly' to look at, unknown by many Bradfordians and deserves to be recognised. Uplift the old library with a new fresh and very modern structure. Of course that would be a great idea if not for obvious financial issues. I merely felt like stating my opinion, thank you. yer2002
  • Score: 0

12:59pm Thu 27 Oct 11

yorkshiredude says...

yer2002 wrote:
I say convert the old central police station into a grand central library with small cafe stalls, tables and benches, newsagents, information stands and other carts or parlours. With the beautiful trees and central space the old police station could be a new library similar to the outside look of London's great central library. The one we have now is 'ugly' to look at, unknown by many Bradfordians and deserves to be recognised. Uplift the old library with a new fresh and very modern structure. Of course that would be a great idea if not for obvious financial issues. I merely felt like stating my opinion, thank you.
I like the police station idea, I think it would work really well with the City Park. But as you say, £££.

That said, I like the library building! I am probably in a minority.
[quote][p][bold]yer2002[/bold] wrote: I say convert the old central police station into a grand central library with small cafe stalls, tables and benches, newsagents, information stands and other carts or parlours. With the beautiful trees and central space the old police station could be a new library similar to the outside look of London's great central library. The one we have now is 'ugly' to look at, unknown by many Bradfordians and deserves to be recognised. Uplift the old library with a new fresh and very modern structure. Of course that would be a great idea if not for obvious financial issues. I merely felt like stating my opinion, thank you.[/p][/quote]I like the police station idea, I think it would work really well with the City Park. But as you say, £££. That said, I like the library building! I am probably in a minority. yorkshiredude
  • Score: 0

3:43pm Thu 27 Oct 11

djalbertfreeman says...

I'd just like to clarify that it is not just the 'archives' that are on the upper 6 floors of Bradford Central Library. Currently, the entirity of the library's non-fiction stock, and the Local Studies department are on floors inaccessible to the public.
I'd just like to clarify that it is not just the 'archives' that are on the upper 6 floors of Bradford Central Library. Currently, the entirity of the library's non-fiction stock, and the Local Studies department are on floors inaccessible to the public. djalbertfreeman
  • Score: 0

3:56pm Thu 27 Oct 11

djalbertfreeman says...

I neglected to mention the mobile library and home delivery services. They are also based on the upper 6 floors.
I neglected to mention the mobile library and home delivery services. They are also based on the upper 6 floors. djalbertfreeman
  • Score: 0

6:18pm Thu 27 Oct 11

NCC.1701A says...

And another building left empty which will be boarded up and end up crumbling in full public view.
.

Another brilliant advert for Bradford to be proud of - another nail in Bradford's coffin.
And another building left empty which will be boarded up and end up crumbling in full public view. . Another brilliant advert for Bradford to be proud of - another nail in Bradford's coffin. NCC.1701A
  • Score: 0

9:33pm Thu 27 Oct 11

Mekon says...

Good idea for the police station..would probably cost the same if not more though.
Good idea for the police station..would probably cost the same if not more though. Mekon
  • Score: 0

9:44am Fri 28 Oct 11

Lockjaw says...

That's Bradford. Fur coat and no knickers. A library that has been under-resourced and neglected for years (note the torn 70s wallpaper, and cutbacks on any form of printed media) versus a pond. A pond!!!
That's Bradford. Fur coat and no knickers. A library that has been under-resourced and neglected for years (note the torn 70s wallpaper, and cutbacks on any form of printed media) versus a pond. A pond!!! Lockjaw
  • Score: 0

11:18am Fri 28 Oct 11

Wutheringon says...

I used to work in this bdg, until given the chance to escape earlier this year! I was also Unison Safety Rep and I can tell you that this bdg has been seriously neglected for DECADES! As have the staff! Unison used to carry out H&S Inspections but most of our recommendations were put on one side due to 'lack of money'. This despite the fact that the lighting, heating, ventilation etc. etc. often failed to meet the basic requirements of H&S legislation. During Ian Watson's watch (the previous Head of Service, an arrogant, ignorant little man), I had to appeal to the HSE and to Occupational Health on occasions to get things changed. The H&S and welfare of staff has never been a priority: the prevailing attitude was to 'put up and shut up'! This is why things, in my opinion, have been allowed to get to this utterly disgraceful state.
I used to work in this bdg, until given the chance to escape earlier this year! I was also Unison Safety Rep and I can tell you that this bdg has been seriously neglected for DECADES! As have the staff! Unison used to carry out H&S Inspections but most of our recommendations were put on one side due to 'lack of money'. This despite the fact that the lighting, heating, ventilation etc. etc. often failed to meet the basic requirements of H&S legislation. During Ian Watson's watch (the previous Head of Service, an arrogant, ignorant little man), I had to appeal to the HSE and to Occupational Health on occasions to get things changed. The H&S and welfare of staff has never been a priority: the prevailing attitude was to 'put up and shut up'! This is why things, in my opinion, have been allowed to get to this utterly disgraceful state. Wutheringon
  • Score: 0

11:27am Fri 28 Oct 11

Wutheringon says...

I had the misfortune to work in this building until the chance to escape earlier this year, and was the Unison Safety Rep, and I can tell you that this building has been seriously neglected for DECADES! As have the staff! Unison carry out H&S Inspections but our recommendations were often put on one side due to 'lack of money'. This despite the fact that the lighting in staff areas, heating, ventilation, workstations etc. etc. often failed to compy with basic H&S legislation. The welfare of staff has never been a priority and the prevailing attitude is one of 'put up & shut up'! This, in my opinion, is one reason why this building has been allowed to get into this disgraceful state.
I had the misfortune to work in this building until the chance to escape earlier this year, and was the Unison Safety Rep, and I can tell you that this building has been seriously neglected for DECADES! As have the staff! Unison carry out H&S Inspections but our recommendations were often put on one side due to 'lack of money'. This despite the fact that the lighting in staff areas, heating, ventilation, workstations etc. etc. often failed to compy with basic H&S legislation. The welfare of staff has never been a priority and the prevailing attitude is one of 'put up & shut up'! This, in my opinion, is one reason why this building has been allowed to get into this disgraceful state. Wutheringon
  • Score: 0

8:25am Sat 29 Oct 11

Yorkshire Lass says...

Wutheringon wrote:
I had the misfortune to work in this building until the chance to escape earlier this year, and was the Unison Safety Rep, and I can tell you that this building has been seriously neglected for DECADES! As have the staff! Unison carry out H&S Inspections but our recommendations were often put on one side due to 'lack of money'. This despite the fact that the lighting in staff areas, heating, ventilation, workstations etc. etc. often failed to compy with basic H&S legislation. The welfare of staff has never been a priority and the prevailing attitude is one of 'put up & shut up'! This, in my opinion, is one reason why this building has been allowed to get into this disgraceful state.
Nowt new there then. Maybe there is a need for another hotel? Why do the councils' in Bradford neglect these buildings when actually they have functioned pretty well for the last 40/50 years, so during this time it is obvious that some serious updating would be needed. They wait until they think that a catastrophe could happen and then see how much money they can procure from the central Government, easy option. £4m overspend of the city park is a scandal but I suspect not one person will be held to account. Probably caused by the weather and EDL! The citizens of Bradford are treat like they don't have a brain between them when clearly they have. The council should get in the real world once in a while.
[quote][p][bold]Wutheringon[/bold] wrote: I had the misfortune to work in this building until the chance to escape earlier this year, and was the Unison Safety Rep, and I can tell you that this building has been seriously neglected for DECADES! As have the staff! Unison carry out H&S Inspections but our recommendations were often put on one side due to 'lack of money'. This despite the fact that the lighting in staff areas, heating, ventilation, workstations etc. etc. often failed to compy with basic H&S legislation. The welfare of staff has never been a priority and the prevailing attitude is one of 'put up & shut up'! This, in my opinion, is one reason why this building has been allowed to get into this disgraceful state.[/p][/quote]Nowt new there then. Maybe there is a need for another hotel? Why do the councils' in Bradford neglect these buildings when actually they have functioned pretty well for the last 40/50 years, so during this time it is obvious that some serious updating would be needed. They wait until they think that a catastrophe could happen and then see how much money they can procure from the central Government, easy option. £4m overspend of the city park is a scandal but I suspect not one person will be held to account. Probably caused by the weather and EDL! The citizens of Bradford are treat like they don't have a brain between them when clearly they have. The council should get in the real world once in a while. Yorkshire Lass
  • Score: 0

1:11am Sun 30 Oct 11

Reality001 says...

A650 wrote:
Great that they're thinking of closing the central library when across the road there's a the new square and lake opening.

There's nothing like joined up thinking is there?
Well it was a Tory led Council that brought you the City Park, at what appears to be the cost of carrying out repairs to council owned buildings.
[quote][p][bold]A650[/bold] wrote: Great that they're thinking of closing the central library when across the road there's a the new square and lake opening. There's nothing like joined up thinking is there?[/p][/quote]Well it was a Tory led Council that brought you the City Park, at what appears to be the cost of carrying out repairs to council owned buildings. Reality001
  • Score: 0

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