NARBETH’s old library will go up for sale following the backing of senior councillors.
At the May meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet, the St James Street library was declared surplus.
The building – a former chapel – was declared surplus as Narberth is to get a new library as part of the redevelopment of the town’s former Narberth CP school site, which is expected to be handed over to Pembrokeshire County Council by local developers Andrew Rees and Charles Salmon – of Narberth Old School Developments – in early June.
Once it is handed over, the library will be fitted out ahead of its scheduled opening in early 2024.
A temporary library is currently operating in the town’s Bloomfield House Community Centre while repairs are undertaken at the St James St site.
The St James Street site – operating since the 1980s – will continue to provide library services in Narberth until the new library is completed.
Whilst a capital receipt will be generated from the disposal of the former Narberth Library, £55,000 of it will be required to fund the £55,000 budget pressure on the new library project, a report for Cabinet members stated.
At the May 22 Cabinet meeting, Cabinet Member for Place, the Region and Climate Change Cllr Paul Miller described the new town library as “another good news story in my book”.
He said the new library would compare favourably with other new libraries in Haverfordwest and Neyland, as well as the forthcoming South Quay library in Pembroke.
He praised the role of all involved in the new library, adding: “This is an example of us investing in our communities”.
Cllr Miller finished, saying: “Without ‘honking on,’ three brand-new libraries in the last few years, it’s just a microcosm of going back to investing in our communities, it’s one of the many services where we are making a difference.”
The report for members said other options for the old library had been considered: “The council could decide not to dispose of the asset and instead try to repurpose. However, no service has expressed an interest or budget identified to deliver the works necessary to the property to make it suitable for any alternative use.
“The council’s Corporate Asset Management Board have considered the future of the asset and deemed it surplus. Retention of the asset would require a change of use (a planning application), substantial capital and the identification of an end user.”