Devon County Council has approved plans for a major £2.3 million extension and facelift for Newton Abbot library.
Cllr Stuart Barker, who has responsibility for the Council’s libraries, said that the improved library will bring huge economic benefit to boost the regeneration of Newton Abbot, providing the stimulus the town needs.
The new libary will be one of the first of Devon’s new generation of libraries offering a wide range of 21st century services and designed to be a hub for the community.
The building will be extended into the existing courtyard to provide additional library space for children, young people and families. The Grade II listed building will be considerably modernised internally to give a fresh, vibrant feel aimed at attracting people of all ages and backgrounds.
The county says that a new facility for Newton Abbot is desperately needed because the existing library, which has a poor quality interior, will not be able to meet the demands of the anticipated growth in the Newton Abbot population.
An additional 8,000 homes are proposed for Newton Abbot by 2026, which will substantially increase demand for library and learning facilities. It’s estimated demand for adult learning could rise to 5,000 places per year.
Government funding has been allocated to the scheme in recognition of the need to increase the library space for Newton Abbot’s growing community.
The library currently receives over 180,000 visits annually, issuing around 160,000 items. It’s predicted the new improved library will increase its use and membership by 50% in the first year following reopening. It will mean more people coming into the town centre which will boost local shops.