8 December 2016

“We will always have a Central Library in the city centre”

That was one of the promises made by Sheffield City Council at last night’s public meeting about proposals for the Central Library and Graves Art Gallery. The meeting, one of a number planned, saw more than 200 people discuss how the council is considering leasing the Surrey Street building to create the city’s first five star hotel, as the cost of repairs and upkeep is unaffordable.

The other promises, should the deal go ahead, were:

  • Not to explore a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) arrangement to finance any new Central Library building.
  • To protect the existing building through a triple lock of planning law, listing requirements and controls.
  • A new Graves Art Gallery in the existing building, guaranteeing public access for future generations.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Libraries at Sheffield City Council, said: “There’s a lot of interest in the proposals for the Central Library and that’s really good. We are only at the start of a potentially very long process of talking with the people Sheffield about the future. I’m pleased to be able to make some clear, public promises about how we move forward.

“The current condition of the Central Library building is poor and will become more of a problem for us, which is why we’re looking at the possibility of leasing it and creating a new Central Library service in the heart of the city centre which will be a modern service fit for the 21st century, and even better than the existing one.

“We are planning more events so more people can discuss the plans with us. This is just the start of the process to work together, and I am committed to doing this in a transparent and open way to engage with as many people as possible.”

The slides from last night’s meeting are online at www.sheffield.gov.uk/libraries.