Councillor floats old Woolworths building as a site for library

The old Woolworths building in the town centre
The old Woolworths building in the town centre
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PLANS for a new state-of-the-art library may have hit the buffers but a leading councillor believes the old Woolworths building could provide the ideal solution.

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) has spent two years searching for a suitable site in Hastings, but at a meeting of the ESCC cabinet it was announced that the whole scheme was under review because of the Government spending cuts.

The news was met with dismay by local members, with Cllr Godfrey Daniel urging his colleagues to think again.

He said: “Hastings Library has been described as not fit for purpose. I do not want to lose it, I do not want it to be the sacrificial lamb on the back of these Government cuts.”

And Cllr Daniel suggested that the upper floors of the old Woolworths building in Wellington Place could be the perfect place to install a new library, following a similar development which opened in Rye last week. The ultra modern new facility which includes self-service machines for users to check out their books has been roundly welcomed and Cllr Daniel thinks Hastings should follow suit.

“When you visit Hastings at the moment and you see the Woolworths building you will see a big “for sale” sign on the side.

“That may be a happy coincidence, may be not. I understand it’s a large building but it does offer potential with a bit of innovation to co-locate some of the other county council services in the town centre there.”

Announcing that the Hastings Library plans were being reviewed, Cllr Bob Tidy, ESCC lead member for community services, said: “We have been working for two years to try and find a site for a new library in Hastings, and Cllr Daniel is well aware of the efforts we have made.

Unfortunately for the money the capital programme has made available to us it has not been possible. The feasibility of the current scheme needs to be tested.

“Our dedication to a modern library service that people want to use is there 100 per cent and we will find ways and means of providing that,” he added.