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Nailsea library and college could be sold if services move to Scotch Horn

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 February 2017

Nailsea Library

Nailsea Library

Archant

The Weston College site in Nailsea could be transformed into homes if the town’s library moves to Scotch Horn Leisure Centre.

Town leaders say North Somerset Council is considering teaming up with the college to market the library, an empty council building and the college’s hub, if library services are moved from Somerset Square.

The council is reviewing its leisure services and announced last year it may move the library and children’s centre into Scotch Horn as well as build a new pool and gym for the town. While the council says all options are still open at the moment, if the plans go-ahead, Weston College could finally sell its site and councillors believe it would be ‘logical’ to market all the assets as one.

Cllr Jan Barber said: “It depends on the results of the Scotch Horn consultation. But if it came to pass that the library was to go to Scotch Horn, then it would be a good idea to market the site North Somerset owns next to Weston College, Weston College itself and the library all as one.

“That’s what’s being considered and if the library moves, it would be logical.

“Weston College has planning permission (for flats) as far as the planners are concerned, but there’s a hold-up because there’s a particular piece of land which belongs to North Somerset Council underneath where we keep the power for the library. Weston College can’t have planning permission unless that’s sorted.”

North Somerset Council announced the possibility of a ‘new super leisure centre’ in the town in March 2015 and the options for Nailsea are due to be considered later this year in the second phase of the council’s community access review (CAR).

Cllr Barber said: “The idea is that the children’s centre and the library move to Scotch Horn where they will hopefully build a swimming pool but consultation is only just beginning and there could be objections to moving the library.

“The library isn’t accessible for people with disabilities but it is particularly well used by every age group so it’s not a foregone conclusion.”

The properties which could be marketed together include the Weston College @ Nailsea site, the library and a building next to the stairs up to the former GP surgery and dentist which used to be used by council staff.

Cllr Barber added: “The college is an eyesore and I’ve been trying for many years to get the site sorted. To have it as flats for all age groups with parking underneath would be lovely. It would boost the precinct and get rid of the eyesore, but even though planners are happy with it, it can’t quite be finalised because of this strip of area which the library needs to function.”

As part of the three-year review, the council is looking at 14 children’s centres and 12 libraries to make sure the buildings and services are fit for purpose and in the right place.

Services in Long Ashton, Pill, Yatton, Congresbury, Winscombe, Worle and Weston South were reviewed in the first phase, the second stage will cover Portishead, Clevedon, Nailsea and Weston Central.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “Options for Nailsea library are being looked at in the second phase of our community access review.

“Once options have been drawn up we will consult on them before any decisions are made.”

To keep updated with the progress of the review visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/my-council/communityinvolvement/council-locations/car

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