Happy ending as hopes for new Ottery St Mary library set to become a reality

Former NatWest Bank building in Ottery has been earmarked as the new library site

Former NatWest Bank building in Ottery has been earmarked as the new library site - Credit: Archant

Town council pledges to commitment to getting project off the ground

A long-running battle to safeguard the future of Ottery Library will have a happy ending as plans for new premises are set to go ahead.

Civic leaders pledged their commitment to the project – and, if necessary, agreed to meet a shortfall in funding – amid fears that any further delays would only incur rising costs.

The town council spent £134,000 on the former NatWest Bank in September as a site for a new library, tourist information centre and public toilets, but renovation work has yet to begin.

Speaking at a town council meeting on Monday, Mayor Glyn Dobson revealed lease terms have finally been agreed with Libraries Unlimited – an organisation that will be running the facility.

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He said: “Devon County Council has given Libraries Unlimited a sum of money to cover Ottery, but this leaves a shortfall.

“When they have done the building it will be greatly improved, which benefits the town. It is whether we are prepared to help pay for the shortfall.”

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Money had already been set aside to fund new public toilets in the town, but the intended inclusion of these in the Silver Street premises is likely to dramatically reduce the cost.

Councillor Ian Holmes said: “If we have the money set aside, I think not to spend it and get this project off the ground would be ridiculous.”

It was agreed that if Libraries Unlimited is unable to meet any shortfall in funding, the town council would help.

Ciara Eastell, the chief executive of Libraries Unlimited, said: “We are looking forward to taking the next steps in making a new library for Ottery a reality.”

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