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First glimpses of how library revamp will look

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: August 02, 2012

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IMAGES have been released which reveal for the first time how a revamped Exeter Central Library could look.

The library is to have a year-long £4.1m refurbishment from January.

Exeter's main library is the busiest, not just in Devon, but across the whole of the South West, but it has poor access and according to library bosses "looks tired".

The illustrations show an improved main entrance, the creation of an entrance from Rougemont Gardens, and an enlarged entrance foyer with a cafe where the children's library is now.

The images were displayed to members of the new Exeter Board at a special presentation.

The board, which is made up of Exeter's nine county councillors and a group of city councillors, broadly approved the plans but requested that thought be given to how the elements of the city's cultural quarter, the Royal Albert memorial Museum (RAMM), the Phoenix and the library, can best be linked.

Saxon Spence, county councillor for Pinhoe and Mincinglake said: "Many who visit the RAMM do not realise the library is as close to it as it is because there is no obvious route between the two."

The board has requested that the county council costs how much it would take to create a better pathway between the three.

With regard to the refurbishment, Cllr Roger Croad, Devon's Cabinet Member for Communities, said: "It's interesting to see how the open-plan space could work, and where services within the building could be located, as well as how the design links the building to the rest of the city centre area.

"We have listened carefully to the views of our residents, and have produced an initial design that would meet changing local needs by maximising the use of space in the building, and making it as flexible as possible so it could accommodate a range of activities and services that young people, their families and the local community need.

"Further consultation is planned for after the summer, and is an important opportunity for us to get some feedback on these initial designs and for people to influence the next phase including the interior design as well as see what has been going on behind the scenes and find out about timescales for the rest of the project."

Further consultation events are planned for the first week in September.

Relevant planning permissions are being sought, so building work could begin as early as January 2013, and it is anticipated the new library would open in early 2014.

During the construction, the library will find a temporary home in what is now the Westcountry Studies Library.

The studies library is itself moving to become part of the Devon Heritage Centre on Sowton. The so-called Stack at Exeter Central Library, which is used for storage, will not move across to the temporary library, but will be sealed during the redevelopment to protect the materials.

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