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Decision due on future of Bradford Central Library
9:10am Saturday 16th June 2012 in News
The future of Bradford Central Library will finally be decided next week following months of uncertainty after it was condemned as a serious fire risk.
Most of the building has been closed since October, after Health and Safety officers carried out a routine check late last year and found the open staircase meant if there was a blaze, it would act as a chimney.
That has meant upheaval for community groups and visitors to the library, who could not access anywhere above the ground and first floors.
But councillors will meet on Friday at the Bradford Council Executive meeting to decide whether to back a plan to plough nearly £1 million into making the building fire-proof and restoring the library service back to its full capacity.
That will involve making the ground, first and second floors safe, with £4.5 million still needed for backlog maintenance work for the building as a whole.
Bradford Council leader, Councillor Dave Green, said: “We are actively pursuing potential options for the operation of Central Library which would both improve facilities and honour our commitment to provide library and archive services in Bradford city centre.
“It may be several weeks before the approved option can be implemented, but we will keep users informed of what is going to happen and when. Staff will also be kept fully informed of the proposals and will be redeployed to other libraries during any temporary closure of Central Library to complete the work.
“In the meantime, the library will remain open and services will continue to be provided from the ground and first floors of the building.”
Those services include the fiction lending library, local studies material, public computers and the West Yorkshire Archive Service.
The affected floors, housing meeting rooms, the non-fiction collection, archives and offices, have been closed for the last few months, but if the £900,000 remodelling of the ground, first and second floors is given the green light, those could be accessed soon.
That is because the preferred option will create enough space to restore the service back to how it was before the fire hazard was discovered. It would mean the library closing for four weeks while the work is carried out.
The preferred option would also allow alternative uses for the remaining floors, which would not interfere with the future operation of the library. It has not been revealed what those alternative options would be.