North Yorkshire County Council is set to create an extensive community hub in the heart of Harrogate’s Woodfield and Bilton.
The project will lead to Woodfield Community Primary School, Bilton Children’s Centre and Woodfield and Bilton Community Library being brought together on the same site as a major resource for local residents and as a more cost-effective and efficient use of premises and to provide easier access.
Woodfield Community Primary School will be significantly refurbished and brought together into a single building. In addition Bilton and Woodfield Community Library will find a new home alongside Bilton Children’s Centre which shares the Woodfield school site.
Woodfield’s headteacher Caroline Chadwick said:
This is a brilliant opportunity to bring the whole school together in one building and benefit from internal and external refurbishment of the early years provision. It is a logical and positive step which we have been considering for a few years and I am delighted that it is now coming to fruition.
There is always anxiety with change but the outcome will be worthwhile and I am confident that our school community will appreciate being in a single building because it will feel far more cohesive.
Bilton and Woodfield Community Library is currently located in Bilton Lane and following extensive public consultation in 2010 was saved from closure by an enthusiastic group of volunteers. The county council and the Bilton and Woodfield Community Library Group acknowledged at the time that the current premises were not fit for purpose and the search has been on for a better solution for the local community.
Locating the library alongside Bilton Children’s Centre presents an exciting opportunity to bring services together. The new library will be fully accessible and will provide space that can be used flexibly as a library and by local community groups.
Councillor Arthur Barker, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Schools, said:
This is a winning solution. The school gets modernised premises and will be able to run more efficiently in one building, whilst the county council is able to operate children, library, and other community services more efficiently.
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County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Libraries said:
Bringing the library together with other services makes a great deal of sense. Making more efficient use of our buildings in partnership with local community groups helps the county council to provide a high standard of community service despite austere times.
North Yorkshire County Council will continue to provide professional support and stock for the library and work in partnership with volunteers and community groups to create an attractive and effective library service
Emily Diamand, chair of the trustees of Bilton and Woodfield Community Library said:
While I know all our volunteers will be sad to leave the library building on Bilton Lane, we are also really looking forward to having a brand new library at Woodfield”, “Because we are starting from scratch, this presents a fantastic chance for everyone in Bilton, Woodfield and surrounding areas to get involved and design the library they want.
We believe children are at the heart of our library, and we look forward to welcoming children and young people from across north Harrogate. We will also be able to widen what we can offer to adults. We are aiming to make this new site for Bilton and Woodfield Community Library a ‘place to go’ for the local community for reading, arts, community projects and heritage.