News: New lease of life for Eastville Library

Louis Emanuel, December 14, 2015

Eastville Library, set for closure under cuts agreed this year, will be transformed into a community centre with a cafe and playground under plans approved by the council.

A group of residents has put forward their bid for a community asset transfer and are ready to take over the building in March next year.

The library was the only one earmarked for closure after seven were put under review to cut costs.

But now the South Lockleaze and Purdown Neighbourhood have had their plans accepted by the council who interviewed three groups looking to take over the building.

“It’s nice to have the local support to show that communities can take on a building like this and rescue them closure,” Emily Shimell, a leading member of the group, told Bristol24/7.

The new community centre will hold a cafe and workshop space

Under plans drawn up by her and two other lead members, she hopes the community will be able to lease the library for ten years and take on all its liabilities.

The first moves will be paid for by grants and fundraising, but the group plans on making the space self-sustaining through revenue generated from the cafe and community workshop space.

In a proposals set out to the council, the group wants to establish a community-run cafe and fresh produce shop, an activities space for classes such as yoga or zumba, an outdoor play area, a book swap, computers for internet use and a community garden and exhibition space.

The proposals were accepted by the council on Monday. Shimell said the group was “excited” by the project and would begin organising fundraising events in the new year. She said she hoped the building would be in the community’s hands in March, with services opening in the summer of 2016.

In the meantime they are encouraging interested residents to get in touch via Facebook.

Read about the full set of cost-cutting plans for library services in Bristol.

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