Date set for library move to leisure site

Ponteland Library.
Ponteland Library.

Final preparations are under way for the relocation of Ponteland Library to the leisure centre.

The current premises off Thornhill Road will close its doors for the final time on Wednesday, November 16, and the library area at the facility on Callerton Lane will open on Monday, November 21.

Northumberland County Council says the move will have numerous benefits, including easy access to other services, longer opening hours for the library and the option of self-service to keep things running smoothly at peak times.

This will become another example of the co-location model of services that has been adopted by the council and Active Northumberland as part of efforts to make savings given the authority’s reduced budget.

A campaign called Save Ponteland Library Now was set-up when the temporary move was first announced last year.

Residents raised concerns that the offering of books and other library services ‘will be considerably reduced’ at its new home.

Coun Val Tyler, cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture at the county council, said: “Our library in Ponteland is very well-used and it’s important to secure it for the future and find a way to continue making improvements.

“By moving it to the leisure centre, an improved service can be offered that will be more accessible for residents and more cost-effective for the county council.

“Integrating services in this way has had proven results in other parts of the county, with clear benefits such as longer opening hours, improved accessibility and convenience, and better value for money all round.”

The council will be working with the staff team and customers to tailor provision in the library area. It will be based in the crèche area and the service will also share a reception desk with leisure services.

Eventually, it will move to a new permanent home as part of a £57million shared site development to include new school buildings, alongside leisure and information services on the current leisure centre site.

Funding was agreed by the authority’s cabinet and the scheme is scheduled to be completed in 2019.