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Library to form part of new South Norwood development

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A new library is to be built in South Norwood as part of a major mixed-used scheme being brought forward by Croydon Council.

It will form part of a mixed-use development replacing an outdated and inaccessible building around the corner on the junction of Selhurst Road and Lawrence Road.

The site is part of the council’s home-building programme which will see the local authority build 1,000 new houses and flats across the borough.

With everything on one floor rather than the current five, the proposed new building would be purpose-built and provide a flexible space that would have the same number of books as now.

However, it would also offer more computers, more work spaces, and also allow for out-of-hours use for additional community activities, including adult learning classes.

This proposal follows a recent building survey on the old library that estimates it requires some £420,000 of modernisation and repairs just to keep it operational for the next 20 years.

Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure, and sport, said: “For not much more money than we need to spend to patch up the current building we can use the available budget to deliver a brand new facility that will be designed with tomorrow’s users in mind.

“When we asked people for their thoughts on our libraries last year they overwhelmingly told us they wanted more services to be made available, and this proposal will allow that to happen.

“At a time when many councils are finding their library services under threat I’m delighted to be able to announce an investment of this nature that will deliver on our promise to protect this valuable resource for future generations.”

The old building will still belong to the council and alternative uses for it will be explored to ensure the council maximises value for money and that it is eventually occupied by a suitable user group who will not be hindered by the current access issues.

A survey is being carried out to fully understand what local people want from the new library and also to see if there are any concerns about the move.

It is expected that the new building would be ready by some time in 2019, meaning there is plenty of time for any issues to be worked out in discussion with library users and the local community.

The survey questionnaire is available both online and in hard copy from libraries and by clicking here