Published on

8 November 2023

New Twyford library beginning to take shape

Twyford’s new library remains on track to open next year with work on site continuing to move at pace

Cllr Sarah Kerr, Cllr Stephen Conway and Mr Weston from CTS stood next to a digger looking at the foundations for the new extension at the new Twyford Library

Twyford’s new library remains on track to open next year with work on site continuing to move at pace.

The new library will be located in the former Old Polehampton Boys school building, helping breathe new life into this listed historic landmark and bringing it back into community use.

 On opening it will offer residents a fantastic new space with a large flexible conversion of the main hall and a new children’s library space. Users will also benefit from other popular library features including free access to computers.  

Spaces to bring our communities together

“Libraries are at the heart of our communities. Not only do they offer services like access to events, books, DVDs, magazines, and the internet, but they also act as hubs for people to gather and socialise.” Said Cllr Sarah Kerr, executive member for climate emergency and resident services. “This is something we’ve found increasingly important over the past years, with the ongoing cost of living crisis and many people still suffering from the impact of the pandemic.

“We’re focussed on turning our libraries into safe spaces for our communities. Welcoming all, whether as a warm space for someone struggling to heat their property over winter,  somewhere for someone feeling isolated to come along and have a chat and know they aren’t alone, or simply a space for someone wanting to access the free services on offer.

“This important role libraries play is one of the reasons we’ve been working closely with our local communities to get residents more involved. We’ve set up a volunteer scheme allowing people to help support our libraries and make sure we can continue to keep them open despite these challenging times when our finances are increasingly under pressure. We’re already seen lots of interest from residents interested in getting involved at libraries and I’m sure we will see interest from local people in helping at Twyford when it opens next year.”

Working to create the new library

During the past months the interior space has been carefully excavated with a new concrete floor and underfloor heating installed to help keep the space warm. Foundations have also been laid for the new entrance area, which will link the main library hall with the outdoor space and a new accessible entrance.

Installing foundations for the extension has been a complex piece of work requiring the council’s contractor, Contract Trading Services (CTS), to install 16 metre deep piles to support the new building, due to the proximity of the railway and the sloping nature of the site. A lift shaft for the new platform lift, which will help wheelchair users and those with limited mobility access the spaces, has also been installed.

In the coming months residents will start to see the new extension take shape, as work continues renovate the interior spaces of the old school buildings. A range of green initiatives including air source heat pumps, aimed at making the building more energy efficient and cost effective to run, will also be installed.

Cllr Stephen Conway, leader of the council, said: “The new space will be a wonderful asset for the local communities and something which will offer residents so much more than the current dated building.

“This is an incredibly important local landmark and I’m proud to see the quality of the work being done to bring it back into use. The project team is working incredibly hard to make sure the listed building is protected and work is being done to a high standard which enhances the historic elements of the building and protects them so they can be enjoyed by everyone for years to come. The first lessons were held on this site in 1725, and it’s lovely to think that, nearly 300 years later, the Old Polehampton Boys school is set to become a place of learning and community once again.”

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