Council puts weight behind library restoration project

Liverpool City Council is set to back a charity’s £4.1m application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, to bring a derelict grade two-listed library in Tuebrook back into use as a community centre.

The council’s cabinet, which meets on Friday 28 October, is expected to agree to become a co-applicant with Lister Steps as it progresses its bid to the HLF for funds to restore the library. The council will also discuss whether to match fund the capital works elements of the project, of up to £500,000.

Lister Steps has had its first stage HLF application approved, and is due to submit its second stage application next month.

The project will see the former Andrew Carnegie Library in Tuebrook turned into a new community hub offering childcare, rentable meeting space, hot desking, heritage activities, an events venue and training and volunteering opportunities for local people.

OMI Carnegie Community HubThe approved design by OMI Architects places a series of insertions within the existing reading rooms to create the subdivisions for the range of proposed uses, whilst retaining the original characteristics of the spaces. The work will increase the size from around 7,800 sq ft to 10,000 sq ft.

The library was designed by Thomas Shelmerdine and was built in 1904 following a donation from wealthy industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, to provide opportunity for a disadvantaged local population.

After 100 years as a library, the building was closed following health and safety concerns. Unoccupied, the building has been subject to theft, vandalism and neglect and is listed on Liverpool’s Buildings at Risk register.

Lister Steps is looking for £4.1m from HLF, to fund the majority of the £4.6m project cost.

According to the report to the cabinet, the council’s expenditure will be recovered over the course of a 125-year lease to be agreed with Lister once the HLF funding is approved.

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