By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
Contractors have been called in to re-evaluate how much it will cost Nottingham City Council to fit-out a brand new central library which still has no books inside it.
Thousands of books and records from the former library on Angel Row are currently being stored at an industrial unit two miles from the city centre, close to Stonebridge City Farm.
Nottingham City Council has already built the new state-of-the-art Central Library at the Broadmarsh bus station and car park, which was due to open in 2021.
Last year, council leader David Mellen (Lab) confirmed the opening of the new library would be delayed until 2022, once the old Angel Row building had been sold off to developers.
Some of the money from the sale could be used to furnish the new central library, the council said.
But negotiations on the sale have still not been completed. In July, the opening got pushed back again to 2023.
Other funds to fit out the library would have come from a government Levelling Up bid, which the council missed out in October, as part of a wider bid to demolish the rest of the Broadmarsh shopping centre.
The internal fit-out could cost in the region of £10m, but the council wants to carry out more assessments.
Cllr Kevin Clarke, opposition leader of the Independents at Nottingham City Council raised a question at full council on Monday, January 11.
He said: “Can the leader of the council provide an update on the progress of Nottingham Central Library? Can he provide a firm opening date and if not, can he inform us when he expects to be able to?”
An exact date of the new library’s opening was not disclosed but Cllr Mellen said: “The delivery of a new Central Library still remains a key priority for this council.
“The building which will house the new Central Library is there for all to see and is part of the building that houses the Broadmarsh car park, which opened a few weeks ago, and the new bus station which will open in the next few months.
“It is important this project is completed. After the closure of Angel Row it is vital that we have a replacement Central Library as soon as is possible.
“I’m pleased to report back that specialist fit out contractors are involved in market testing construction prices for the replacement Central Library fit out and we will also be producing a contractor programme to complete the necessary fit out works.
“These prices with their programmes are expected to be supplied back to the council by late February this year.
“At this point the level of finance needed for the scheme will be considered against the capital programme.
“This scheme will, of course, need to be covered within our current expenditure constraints.”
He said the council’s ambition around providing a new Central Library remains “undiminished.”