Plans to replace village library with café gathers momentum

Long Ashton Library

Long Ashton Library - Credit: Archant

Plans to replace the Long Ashton Library with a café have been submitted to North Somerset Council (NSC), with people calling it a potential ‘community hub at the heart of the village’.

More than 100 people have commented on the application for the library, in High Street.

The proposal to turn it into a café will create eight new jobs in the area if the plans are approved.

Rackham Planning submitted the application on the behalf of Jamie McAllister and Cologero Bavetta, and the potential café is set to be open all week from 7.30am to 10pm every day in the village.

The library closed in Long Ashton last month and has since been replaced with a twice-weekly mobile service.

One person living in the village said: “We are concerned about the social isolation that can come with the closure of such an important community facility such as this library.

“If we can’t keep the facility open, then having a social conscience and opening a coffee shop is the next best thing.”

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Another resident said: “At a time when the local high streets across the country are being lost, it is even more important to retain and encourage local centre vitality and viability alongside having the community’s support.

“This proposal is much more than just a café, it will be a community hub at the heart of Long Ashton.”

MORE: Library to close for good today.

But concerns about parking have been raised, with comments about people leaving their vehicles ‘constantly on the road opposite the pavement (to the café), which reduces its width and causes congestion’.

There are also concerns about the café’s opening hours, and residents have mentioned about the potential ‘unwanted noise’ in the village.

A resident from the village said: “While it is encouraging to see the old library may not be standing empty for long, it is unfortunate if this application is successful this café will be competing with the Long Ashton Community Centre café.

“The café not only serves the community with refreshments and provides activities, but it also brings in income for the village’s parish council, which is vital in times when we are losing public services.”

A final decision about the plans is set to be made by the unitary authority on January 31.