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Suffolk County Council gives green light to plans for new Eye Library

PUBLISHED: 15:38 07 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:38 07 March 2018

The existing Eye Library is set to be sold with a new library being established in Cross Street. Picture: SIMON PARKER

The existing Eye Library is set to be sold with a new library being established in Cross Street. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Archant

Plans to knock down an empty office in Eye and create a brand new library for the town have been given the green light.

The rear wing of 6 Cross Street in Eye, which is to be demolished and replaced with a new library for the town. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS The rear wing of 6 Cross Street in Eye, which is to be demolished and replaced with a new library for the town. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The library, currently based in Bucklesham Lane, has been in place for around 40 years but is considered to be outdated.

Plans were lodged to demolish the rear wing of 6 Cross Street – a former highways office and workshop that has lain empty for several years – and create a “purpose-built, modern” library.

Suffolk County Council’s development and regulation committee met on Wednesday morning, where the plans were unanimously agreed.

Bruce Leeke, chief executive of Suffolk Libraries, said: “We’re delighted to hear that the new library in Eye will be going ahead and look forward to working with the county council on the project in the months ahead.

“We’re excited about being able to provide the library service to local people from a new and modern library facility which will benefit the local community.”

The plans feature moveable shelving to allow the space to be used for library events and community activities.

The sale of the existing building in Bucklesham Lane will help fund the project, with council bosses hopeful that the new library will be open to the public in spring 2019.

The committee heard that attempts had been made to liaise with Mid Suffolk District Council to include revamping the adjacent public toilets to the new site, but it is understood that there was not sufficient funding to be able to do so.

The house in front, which is also county council property, could not be incorporated because of differences in the level of floors, with the council instead proposing to sell it as a three bedroom home in the future.

The committee’s deputy chairman Jessica Fleming said she applauded the efforts to try and include the toilet block and praised the planners who had “come up with a design that is quite nice”.

Eye Town Council had objected to several elements of the plan, including the architectural design, space provision inside and loss of car park spaces, but mayor Colin Ribchester said a new build would “improve it a lot”.

The county council’s cabinet member for health, Tony Goldson, said it would be nicer space for customers and more cost effective to run.

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