Angus Council’s communities committee has approved funding for work on behalf of the ACCESS Office integration service.
The committee agreed a report last week that included an approval for an estimated cost of £2,385,000 for the investment in the ACCESS/Libraries Integration Programme for Montrose Library, part of Forfar Library and Carnoustie Library.
The report also called for the committee to note that the funding in ‘Later years’ for Brechin Library, the balance of Forfar Library and Monifieth Library will be subject to further committee approval.
The local authority is aiming to integrate the ACCESS offices and libraries following a detailing examination of the idea, to help make best use of their property estate.
The change will also see the provision of Police Scotland counter services within each burgh on a limited basis.
The report also outlined the work required at each library to allow for the integration. Work common to all burgh libraries include the removal of existing library counters, installation of new counter service points, creation of flexible space/interview Pod areas, the establishment of new learning centre areas and event areas, and the provision of flexible spaces which can be used by the community and other council services, as well as new floor coverings and full redecoration throughout.
The ACCESS office in Brechin is currently based in the Municipal Building in Bank Street, but the council’s Agile Angus Programme is proposing the premises may be retained and “used as a shared locality hub”. The same has been proposed for the Montrose ACCESS Office, currently based at the Town House in the High Street.
It is proposed that the Forfar ACCESS office, in the Municipal Building, The Cross, would be retained and used as a facility for “the democratic function within Angus Council”.
The report also outlined that there could be an impact on the viability of the Montrose project if significant maintenance works are required due to the library’s grade ‘A’ listed building status.
Each library has individual works that need to be carried out. For Brechin, this includes masonry repair to two chimney stacks, sporadic minor pointing repairs and insulation to the rotunda extension roof.
At Forfar, some of the works include a new public accessible toilet together with a purpose-built events room, along with asbestos removal and resurfacing of the loading bay parking area
For Montrose, the first floor will require work to the existing gallery for use as an events area, alterations and improvement to heating system including new boilers, and an upgrade to the original windows.
Montrose works are scheduled to commence in August 2017, following by Forfar in August 2019, while Brechin would get under way in March 2021.
The updated estimated total anticipated investment for the ACCESS/ libraries integration for Brechin is £625,000, while Forfar Library is £1,040,000 and Montrose £755,000
Angus Councillor David May said: “I am delighted to see that at last the integration of the access offices and the libraries in some of our burghs, is being achieved as this will not only enable better use of our council properties but will also mean a one stop shop for people in each of the burghs. I am pleased that following my request, the director has indicated that he will ensure the plans for the integration of the access office and library will be sent to the councillors.”