Monday, April 09, 2012

So where will the library go then?

At last week’s West CC meeting mention was made of the lease on the library running out at some time in the near future. This observer wondered where best to get information that would confirm that. The library is quite a busy place and brings a lot of people down into the High Street, it would be missed. Today Laurie’s leaflet popped through Gurn HQ’s letterbox and in Laurie’s essay was the following little gem:

”The Library’s lease is due to expire in two years and a new location will be required.”

Laurie is informing us that the Library will have to move but it is a shame that he doesn't tell us why. We can deduce that for some reason the lease will not be renewed, beyond that we are in the dark, it would be nice to know in these days of transparency. Anyway, information that emerged during the heyday of the (now seemingly dormant) organisation NICE indicated that the car park between the library and the A96 also belongs to the owners of the library. Now obviously if the library moves there may be implications for the car park. More to the point however is just how much say will our community get when it comes to the library looking for a new location? Don't forget the Highland Council put all the libraries and swimming pools out to an Arms Length Organisation so they don't have direct control over what gets done and where resources go.

In the meantime Laurie also states in his leaflet: “The old community centre and petrol station are close to demolition and by the time of the election should be down and the land tarred.” Land tarred – ah excellent, ideal for car parking? Wasn’t there the wee problem of the Highland Council administration looking for a developer for the community centre site however? Recently River CC called for a permanent car park on the site and Liz backed them up. Liz reiterated her position on keeping the Community Centre as a permanent car park again at the weekend, she told the Gurn:

“The delay to the work at the old community centre is due to there being 3 electric supplies. The chaps came from Hydro and were only able to disconnect 2 of them and another crew has to come to sort out the commercial supply. The contract did begin from 5th March and I am disappointed as much as everyone else at these delays as I'd been hoping the work would be completed in time for the Curtis Cup, which was the initial aim. However in the longer term it'll be great to get the site cleared and let's keep it for a car park for our town centre.”


Bookless said...

Will the end of the lease and a freeze on council tax equal closure for our library? There's certainly not another suitable building in Nairn, and as 'we' are still saddled with £3m debt for the community centre the council are highly unlikely to build a new one for us

Perhaps prospective Nairn councillors would like to comment, as time wise it will come under their watch for those who are elected next May

bookworm said...

No suitable alternative buildings? What about turning the publicly-owned and listed building that was once the Free Church school, and briefly a temporary police station into Nairn's public library? It might even serve as a local information point for both residents and tourists.

At least then the public and visitors would have access to, and could enjoy, one of Nairn's historic landmarks which at the moment is occupied by Council accountants (who can surely be found space in the Courthouse or Barron House?).

There's also Viewfield House. If the Council put some money into relocating the library there, then at least there's a chance that some of the structural neglect could be put right, and it would complement the museum operations and attract more people.

All it needs is a little vision and imagination, and the political will. Highland Councillors - are you listening?