Runcorn market to become library

Architectural practice Cassidy & Ashton has been granted planning consent on behalf of client Halton Council to transform Runcorn's former indoor market into a public library.

The £550,000 scheme will start on site in October, with completion scheduled for March 2012. The 6,400 sq ft building will be home both to Halton Library Services and Halton Direct Link, providing public access to the library's lending and reference collections, computer facilities and council services including payments, service requests and general enquiries.

Cassidy & Ashton's plans for the building include making the most of the natural daylight provided by the existing rooflight and the open plan, single storey layout. A new entrance lobby will be created with automatic doors to improve accessibility and the building will be refurbished throughout.

Cllr Phil Harris, Halton Council's executive board member for libraries, said: "The new library will be more accessible in its new location and provide an improved service to library users. The council pledged a replacement library and we are now delivering it."

Comments Toby Southgate, associate director from Cassidy and Ashton: "The old indoor market is a landmark building in Runcorn and it is very appropriate that it should be reinvented to provide valuable community services that are useful and accessible to all. Our plans aim to maximise the existing features and aesthetic of the building whilst developing the space to create facilities appropriate to its new function."

The current Runcorn library will remain open until the new one has been completed. The indoor market closed earlier this year and has not been replaced. Runcorn still has an outdoor market and there is an indoor market in nearby Widnes.

Cassidy & Ashton has offices in Preston and Chester.

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