Start approaches for £50m library renewal

Construction firm Shepherd said it intends to start on site in the summer with the £50m redevelopment of Liverpool Central Library.

The plans by architects Austin-Smith:Lord were approved earlier this month by Liverpool City Council. They include restoring the Grade II-listed parts of the building which date back to 1850, including the Picton, Hornby and Oak Reading Rooms. The existing 1950s and 1970s facilities will be replaced with a new five-storey section doubling the number of public computers. There will also be a roof terrace and a new archive facility.

Liverpool Central Library plansShepherd is the lead contractor in the Inspire Partnership consortium appointed on the work. Asset managers Amber Infrastructure, architects Austin-Smith:Lord, Buro Happold, building services engineers and Cofely on facilities management, make up the rest of the construction and design team.

Mike Leto from Amber Infrastructure said: "Achieving [planning consent] is great news and we are working hard to achieve financial close as quickly as possible – the whole team is looking forward to starting construction later on this year and delivering such a landmark facility for the city of Liverpool to enjoy."

Cllr Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool City Council, said: "We have been developing this project for several years, and to get planning permission and listed building consent is a major milestone. This scheme will enable us to upgrade and restore the much loved historic parts of the building, creating a first-class 21st century facility the whole city can be proud of.''

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