By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
Nottingham could be left without a city centre library until at least 2023.
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, next to Stonebridge City Farm.
Nottingham City Council has already created a new state-of-the-art central library at the Broadmarsh bus station and car park, which was due to open in 2021.
In March this year council leader David Mellen (Lab) confirmed the opening of the new library would be delayed until 2022, when the Angel Row building had been sold off to developers.
Money from the sale will be used to furnish the new central library.
Today Councillor Eunice Campbell-Clark (Lab), lead member for libraries, revealed residents will now have to wait until at least 2023.
“We were aiming for 2022 but we are now working towards 2023. There has been a delay. But we are absolutely pragmatic that it is going to happen,” she said.
“It is going to be a state-of-the art facility that people can use. It will not just be books. It will be a unique central point for people. Imagine the footfall!”
Councillor Campbell-Clark is hopeful this will not affect the opening of the bus station and car park, which is due to open in autumn 2021.
She added: “We don’t want it to be like Broadmarsh and another empty block. It will happen and that’s why we have set up a board to oversee the project. That’s what we did with Nottingham Castle.”
The new library is part of a multi-million pound project to improve the southside gateway to the city centre as visitors arrive from Nottingham Railway Station.
This also includes knocking down the former Broadmarsh shopping centre and coming up with a 10-year plan to revitalise the space. The centre’s previous owner Intu went into administration last year.
Councillor Andrew Rule, leader of the oppositon Conservative Group at Nottingham City Council, said: “The city council had to change the model they were looking at.
“The initial model was to sell Angel Row library to a developer. The developer then kits it out into office space and then the council leases it back from the developer at ‘X’ amount per square foot.
“They are now going to sell the site.
“With the climate being what it is for office space, we don’t know what the future will be like post-Covid . But I think the Labour Group will say ‘the library has been a manifesto commitment for many years’.
“We have got to find extra money to store the books and records that were in Angel Row and they don’t fully know how long the delay will be.
“Do we need a new library? I think we are so far down the process of getting a new one now we have to see it through otherwise there is a risk that we will end up with no library.
“Once the project is complete, I look forward to the Labour Group providing full disclosure of the costs of the delay, compared to the initial budget.”
Councillors said the Angel Row building has been on the market. It is not known if has yet been sold.
In April, Nottingham City Council spent £205,000 moving the central library’s stock from Angel Row to its temporary location at Woodfield Industries, on Stone Bridge Road.
The temporary location is not open to the public.