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Town centre move for library

PUBLISHED: 16:28 16 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:17 12 August 2010

A DECISION to move library services to the town centre was described as a win-win situation for residents, but not all users agree. Orpington library will move into the Walnuts precinct in the town centre next year, at a cost of £1.94million, following

A DECISION to move library services to the town centre was described as a "win-win situation" for residents, but not all users agree.

Orpington library will move into the Walnuts precinct in the town centre next year, at a cost of £1.94million, following unanimous support of the council's executive last Wednesday.

Subject to approval of the decision by the full council at a meeting last night, a contractor will then be selected from tenders received next March. With refurbishment work starting in May, the new library will open towards the end of 2010. The existing library will continue to operate normally until that time.

"This is a win-win situation," said council leader Stephen Carr. "Existing library users will enjoy not just a modern library with street-level access, but residents who don't use the library facilities will find it easier to do so.

"Importantly, businesses will benefit from the 4,000-plus visits to the library each week. This investment gives us an exciting opportunity to reinvigorate Orpington town centre, encouraging more people to visit and to stay longer."

But a letter sent to all councillors by Orpington resident Wendy Tung warned: "The move would result in an inferior library service, inferior building premises for the library and the library moved to an unsuitable environment. It would also pave the way for the sell-off of the grade II-listed medieval Priory building which adjoins Priory Gardens, the town's park."

Laid out over two floors, the new library will be open six days a week, with extended hours. According to the council a survey of library users found 56 per cent in favour of the move.

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