Derbyshire County Council has scrapped plans to build a £2 million library in Glossop and is now looking at keeping it at its existing location, to the relief of campaigners.
The authority faced fierce opposition when it submitted a proposal to build a library on the former St Luke’s Primary School site, on Talbot Street, claiming its current location, 100 metres down the road in Victoria Hall, was no longer suitable.
Many residents, including activists Glossop SOUL (Save Our Unique Library), objected to the plans branding them as a waste of money.
But following the May elections and a change in administration from Conservative to Labour, the council has done a U-turn and now wants the library to remain in the gothic revival hall, which it leases off High Peak Borough Council.
The county council is working on designs to secure the future of the Grade II listed building and improve facilities, which could include extending services into the nearby adult education building.
Any proposals will be subject to consultation with local residents, library users, High Peak Borough Council and Glossop SOUL.
Deputy cabinet member for health and communities Councillor Ellie Wilcox said: “We’re delighted to have this exciting opportunity to develop Glossop Library and Victoria Hall and we’re looking forward to talking to local people to help us develop our plans.”
In March, the council were keen to relocate the library as it said the building needed £500,000 of essential repairs and that there was a restrictive covenant on the property that would prevent it from using the other floors.
At the time, a council spokesman said: “The plans we have are for a much bigger, lighter, brighter library for the town giving space for more books and computers for public use.
“There would be a garden area for events, public and disabled toilets and baby-changing (there are no facilities at present), and the building would be fully accessible for those with disabilities (the current building is not).
“Our heating and lighting bills would be much reduced as we would seek to introduce as many eco-friendly features as possible. There would also be a large meeting room for community use which could be used outside library opening hours.”
At present, the library only occupies the ground floor of the 1888 building; the top floor which is currently empty and the basement is used by the Millenium Cellar, a youth drop-in centre.