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Central Library To Be Demolished For New Sixth Form College

Monday October 14 2013

BARNSLEY Central Library will be demolished in the coming months to make way for a new £16million sixth form college.

A Barnsley Council report has outlined proposals to build the college on Shambles Street, the preferred site of both the council and the college.

It means the library - along with a parade of shops, offices, an electricity substation and private car parking - will be flattened to make way for the new 7,000 square metre college building.

It would replace the existing sixth form on Eastgate, which, according to the report, has 'pressing health and safety, safeguarding and access deficiencies' compared with the college's main building on Old Mill Lane.

It will cost about £16million, with £5.3million in grant funding already secured. The remaining finance is being raised through asset disposal and borrowing.

The reports says a new sixth form will support Barnsley's aims to create more jobs and increase the number of A-level students from 850 to 1,100.

It means the library, built in 1973, will have to be relocated to the historic Wellington House on Market Street.

Approval for the development will go before the council's ruling Cabinet later this month, with the site expected to become available in February and demolition - costing around £250,000 - starting as soon as April.

The new college is scheduled to open in under two years' time.

Council leader Sir Steve Houghton confirmed the library's move to Wellington House was only a short-term one.

He said: "I think it's important to have a state-of-the-art library in the town centre and this redevelopment gives us the opportunity to achieve just that.

"We welcome the sixth form college, it will improve the gateway to the town centre from that end of town and increase footfall for the shops and businesses in the vicinity.

"People should be assured a library will remain in the town centre of Barnsley and we want to to be the best it can possibly be.

"The proposal indicates the college would have the potential to bring £7.7million into the local economy."

The demolition of the central library follows news that nine of the borough's 17 libraries face a reduction in their opening hours after a review into the future of libraries in Barnsley.

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Reply Posted by bookworm86 on Monday October 14 2013 at 12:02
I know they say the library will be moved I hope they stick to it and we wont have to go without a library. I love going to the Library's and Barnsley's Library has a lot more people using it then a lot of the others.

Reply Posted by andy on Monday October 14 2013 at 12:13
another college?. where is our new library going then.?

Reply Posted by bookworm86 on Monday October 14 2013 at 12:22
I did notice that it says it will be moved to Wellington House for a short time but not mention of where or when there will be a new Library just it will still be in the town centre I just hope they do stick to it and build us a new one.

Reply Posted by LOL on Monday October 14 2013 at 17:55

Reply Posted by Kathleen Ward on Monday October 14 2013 at 12:19
I do so hope that the library will be relocated and not shut down. There are many people that use the library for books, researching & socialising, so please let the Counsel keep their word for once. Just one more question tho' how many colleges does one town need?

The parade of shop on the same side of Shambles Street do look a Shambles, for reason beyond our knowledge. Could it be the rates, or is it because it is on a steep hill or just because of the lack of quality shop in that region. I do not mean the shop's on the opposite side of the street, there are some good shop & the gym, but eh!

Reply Posted by A Nonnie Mouse on Monday October 14 2013 at 12:27
Am I missing the point here a little, WAB has just published a story where they are to find savings of £9 million from their budget, yet we are now to applaud them for spending over £10 million through asset disposal and public borrowing to finance the sixth form college.
At this time of Austerity where many jobs will be lost to finance the proposed £9 million budget shortfall, we are to believe that keep kids in higher education will create more jobs in the area?????
I agree, children need to be educated, I agree this will enhance their prospects for employment, however, I strongly disagree that this will create jobs.

The proposed site for the college is slap bang in the centre of town, an area which needs development to atrract people in to visit the town centre, not encourage a load more teenagers in to hang around.
Surely there are other sites more suitable than this and spending £10 million on the town centre to attract new businesses in to the are will create more jobs. The local council and MP's should be working together on this together with the local Chamber of Commerce and a committee of local business owners when discussing how to improve the prospects for the centre. Please also remember BMBC there are many centres around the region also crying out for investment to create jobs - Grimethorpe, Royston, Cudworth, Monk Bretton, Mapplewell and many more just as a few examples.
Encourage the local pound to be spent locally, using local businesses, local work force and local money. Shop local to save your local community

Reply Posted by Hoyland Red on Monday October 14 2013 at 12:58
A Nonnie Mouse - I think you may be missing the point. If the College wish to purchase the land and the Council are prepared to sell it to them (at a value that reflects land cost in the area) what's the problem??? and surely you're not complaining that having the 6th form college where it's proposed is going to have kids hanging around? i'm sure any shops in that area will welcome their arrival.
It's the Council that has to save 9 million, not the College so surely selling this area of land is worthwhile. The library will move to Wellington House which arguably is more accessible for a lot more people being closer to the town centre.

Reply Posted by Guesty Mcguest on Monday October 14 2013 at 13:07
Barnsley Council and Barnsley College are different organisations, Barnsley Council has no say in the running of Barnsley College, neither is one accountable to the other.

BMBC will be happy with this proposal as the area of empty shops on shambles street will be taken off their hands and redeveloped with no financial implications to themselves.. I also believe that the old site on Eastgate is outlined for major redevelopment by BMBC in the future anyway along with county way I saw it in the plans last year.

Yout views on teenagers "hanging around" are bit off the mark. They will be in classes learning most of the time and sixth form kids tend to be the brighter better behaved kids so I can't imagine it will put people off. Also last I heard there wasn't a big queue of people waiting to redvelop that area of barnsley its been run down for 10+ years so why not just take it for what it is.

Reply Posted by D on Monday October 14 2013 at 12:27
I suppose its ok to do that IF the library is moved to a similar sized building and none of the usual services go

Reply Posted by LV on Monday October 14 2013 at 14:35
Why can it not be built on the existing 6th form site!?! and what will come of that space?! this is spreading the college buildings out even further meaning students studying in more than one building are going to have a worse time getting to different lessons!! This is ridiculous, the traffic is bad enough on Shambles St and Eastgate as it is without all the kids been dropped off and stepping out all over the road without paying attention!!

Great bit of foresight!!

Reply Posted by Concerned parent on Monday October 14 2013 at 15:17
The old Coop building on Wellington St is a totally unsuitable building and location for a town library. My children have all used the excellent children's library, but I would not want to walk them up Wellington St on a winter evening. It's a very unpleasant area of town.
The College should be building in the area of its current campus, not expanding into the town centre contributing to the congestion on Shambles St. But it seems it's a done deal. What price consultation?

Reply Posted by Sa on Tuesday October 15 2013 at 10:03
It's not that building. It's Wellington House on Market Street.

Reply Posted by Mystery on Tuesday October 15 2013 at 17:00
Wellington House is on the corner of Market Street and Wellington Street (hence Wellington House). Worth thinking about is that the current library is a hugely inefficient building and absorbs vast amounts of cash in electricity for lighting and heating every day. Makes sense to sell this building which is costing vast amounts and move to a more efficient building. Not sure why they moved all the adult social services out of Wellington House though just to move other services in.

Reply Posted by Guesty Mcguest on Monday October 14 2013 at 16:49
How do you build a college on its current grounds when students are in the building?

Just a thought

Reply Posted by Library user on Monday October 14 2013 at 17:31
I have mixed feelings on this one.

The library has recently been refurbished and is a very smart and pleasant library. I'm not sure we'd have the same quality in Wellington House with it not being a purpose built library.

On the other hand, it's a fine old building and it'll be nice to see it used again. It might also help revitalise that end of Market Street which has been pretty dingy ever since the Coop moved to the Alhambra.

I think hordes of teenagers walking up from the bus station might put people of sensitive dispositions off using the town hall gardens.

On the other hand, Shambles St is pretty dismal and it really does need something like this to sort it out. The town centre was drawn eastwards when the Alhambra opened and bring on a hill to boot it really is out on a limb. There's little hope of retailers wanting to go there so what else?

And where could the library go if Wellington House is just temporary? A new build? Regent House? Seems a lot if hassle moving a large library twice.

Reply Posted by Guesty Mcguest on Tuesday October 15 2013 at 09:09
I think I agree with you on this, the development on shambles street is a good thing, demolishing the library which I think is excellent a bad one, particularly when there are no plans for a new one and money is tight at the moment.

I have some happy memories of Barnsley Library and looking back I think it is something Barnsley Council got right.

Reply Posted by Hoyland Red on Tuesday October 15 2013 at 12:13
The college need the full footprint of the shops and the Library on Shambles Street to build a,college of the size they require. The relocation to Wellington House is a temporary measure (how long is temporary) until the market redevelopment at which time the Library will form part of that development.

Reply Posted by jo on Monday October 14 2013 at 18:27
Why do we need more college space? I cant believe that we really need to that much more, i dont believe all that about a new library the council has closed numerous in the county with the promise of a better service because they were to be merged with barnsley connects so every village would have all the services under one roof, and then proceeded to cut services and jobs within them! I wont hold my breath for a beautiful new library,

Reply Posted by rainbow on Tuesday October 15 2013 at 15:55
Wont the new sixth form college need a library? Most higher education establishments have one as they are they are key to research and study. The promise of a new library along with the new market is pie in the sky.!!! It shows what philistines we have for councillors, many of them have never read a book in their lives.

Reply Posted by Trishaws on Tuesday October 15 2013 at 15:57
Barnsley has very few gems and Central Library and the staff are one of them. I agree the shops are a mess and need developing but the community will suffer. I use the library for research and I do hope the move will not mean less books, unqualified staff and smaller community areas. The library belongs to Barnsley people but the Council are selling our family jewels.

Reply Posted by GRIM on Tuesday October 15 2013 at 18:22
So a few things...
Having a new sixth form college is nothing but a band thing.
Since the introduction of the law that says all 16-18 years must be employed or in full-time education, demand for places at college have shot through the roof. Where once there was enough uptake for one course, now there is enough to fill three classes. There needs to be enough room to accomate this influx and the current site does not do that.

Also, go back to the 90s and Barnsley College would attract students from all over the UK and overseas. That needs to happen again. Students - especially those with student loans and those from overseas have spending power. This is know and some other towns and cities profit from that and those local ecomonies benefit.
Barnsley can be known as a first class college know. Certainly in regards to Construction we have more than enough people to cater for and in regards to the Arts, History and Science we have had world-class graduates. The facilities are first rate and so is the teaching. We need to keep that up and attract more students to Barnsley. Compared to the rest of the UK, it is an affordable place to live and an affordable place to spend. It has also seen a considerable rise in new local independant businesses in the last year. Again, something else to support.
It's not all about bringing H&M and Nandos to Barnsley.
A new, larger sixth form will bring more jobs and may even encourage new local businesses to open on the other half of Shambles Street. And even if it is more sandwich shops, its still money into the local ecconomy.

And the library. Central Library is top class. Its collection, its staff and its facilities are all of high quality. They are not disapearing, they are just moving.
Its a shame that this building will be demolished but it has lots of unused space in there, and Wellington House is more than suitable for the time being. Not only is it the right size to accomodate, but in terms of local historical significance, it too is equally imprtant, having links to past local archietects of signifanct importance.
Not sure sure though that the top of Market Street, next to the fat fellas clothes shop and the closed Chicago Rock is the best place though. However, this is temporary.

One thing... why do people link the cost of the new college to council spending. The college would be buying the land from BMBC surely?

People are too quick to complain without seeing beyond their own noses. Its always negative with positive.
There are lots of positives and potential here.

Reply Posted by GRIM on Tuesday October 15 2013 at 18:43
by the way, if you read the news today, you'll also see that the future of ALL 17 Barnsley libraries have been secured.

Reply Posted by kilkenny on Wednesday October 16 2013 at 08:43
Oh. I will miss the central library. I remember when it was built. I used to go downstairs and sit on bright red seats in the children's library and read Topsy and Tim books. That was in the mid-seventies. I am still a library user to this day. I am so glad the future of the libraries in Barnsley has been secured.

Reply Posted by Trishaws on Wednesday October 16 2013 at 17:07
Barnsley College demolishes Public Library. What about the art work on the front of the library? Wonder how much that can be sold for? Contact Barnsley Council before College gets it and then they can sell it to off to cover the debt they seem to be accumulating. History repeats itself with that college. Library hasn't been investigated by the fraud squad. Public land, public art, public library - sold.

Reply Posted by mc on Saturday October 19 2013 at 09:28
Dont spend money twice ,,put the library in to the civic building ,thats where it will finish up anyway.

Reply Posted by taxpayer on Sunday October 20 2013 at 11:30
agree with mc, I've also heard the civic is the ultimate home of the library.....but in these times of austerity it beggars belief that the council will allow a perfectly good purpose built library be demolished and to relocate it to a compromise building then repeat the process again. Shame they can't make use of the skeleton building like they helped the developer of the gateway plaza. If it costs the council £800 to mow a football pitch and £90 to replace a light fitting, I dread to think how much this latest episode of building shuffling will cost. You can bet the decision makers are more cautious with their personal finances than they are with the publics.

Reply Posted by Chris on Thursday October 31 2013 at 15:54
Has anyone noticed that the space available between Shambles Street and Westgate is really quite restricted for any kind of school or college, never mind a Sixth Form College which it is hoped will attract 1,000 students? Presumably it will be many storeys high and might even manage some parking spaces for staff and students, but I do feel that our "A" level students deserve rather more room for their studies ! My distant memories of sixth-form education include sporting activities but the nearest sports facilities are some distance from the proposed site. The area of the former Honeywell School would appear to offer greater possibilities -- more space , a pleasant green environment and certainly less traffic nose, and, presumably no land purchase issues. Such a solution would, however, leave the Wellington House buildings unused .....which might be the ultimate purpose of the exercise.

Reply Posted by Claire Collett on Saturday November 16 2013 at 19:43
Not on! Lots of wonderful spaces that can be converted for 6th Form pupils. This resource is for everyone and loosing it shouldn't even be on the radar. I spent my evenings at Barnsley College studying to get into University and later continued to do the same whilst on leave, not having a place within my own home to adequately study. I an now an Executive Headteacher and can thank Barnsley Library for facilitating my love of reading, learning and study.

Reply Posted by BL4me on Thursday May 8 2014 at 13:05
It seems to me that it is as likely to be that we get a new library the same time as we get a new Debenhams, oh yes sorry that is now no longer going to happen.......................