Welcome to Bennett's World: a collection of articles and references covering a wide variety of topics in which I am involved. I am a very political person but I have no allegiance to any political party. Follow me on twitter @colinhove

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Hove Library Update

Residents of Hove were relieved with the result of the campaign to 'save' Hove Library about a year ago. Brighton & Hove City Council had proposed to move Hove Library from the 1907 Andrew Carnegie Building to space in the late 1960s Hove Town Hall. The campaigning of Hove residents made the council reconsider. To much relief, it was decided that the Library would remain where it is. This does not change one of the reasons the Council gave which is compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). Plans for alterations to the Library premises are very much on the drawing board and going through the planning application process. While the saving of Hove Library is welcome, this does not address the important issue of access by the whole community to all parts of the library. However much residents like Hove Library, it is beyond question that it would be intolerable for parts of the Library to remain inaccessible in the 21st Century. It seems unlikely that the reason the council gave (namely to meet DDA requirements) is the true one. This is because the DDA applies to all buildings whatever their function and any new use of the Carnegie Building would also have to comply with the DDA. It is likely that the reasons given by the council was a sham and part of another agenda. The Council has now done what it should have done in the first place which is put forward plans for DDA compliance. As with some other prominent projects, in this case the Council is both applicant and referee of the application with a duty of care for a Grade II listed building. One observant resident has closely examined the planning proposals for drastic alterations intended to meet the requirements of the DDA and has formally objected to them. His standpoint is that any proposals must respect those aspects of the building that attracted listed status and do not detract from the library function as a working asset of Hove. Essentially, the alterations are to build a lift to the upper floors and to provide 'disabled' toilets. The council proposals envisage the building of two lifts and building toilet facilities that encroach on the book space. The objectors alternative proposals, which were supported by other residents make the case for a single lift and place the disabled toilets in an area that does not reduce space for books. The council's own conservation team favour the single lift proposal. Encroaching on the book space might be seen as a trojan horse for widespread reduction of the book space and the introduction of alien features such as a cafe. Maintaining the features of a listed building while achieving access for all, is the essential point of the alternative proposals. The detail of these proposals is in the public domain as they are now part of the Hove Library planning file. Document reference : BH2004/02708/LB Hove Library, 182-186 : Church Road Internal refurbishment including improvements for disabled access. Documents available at City Direct counter Hove Town Hall. Ask specifically to be shown the 'Planning Officers Case File' to view all documents.


Blogger Colin B. Bennett said...

This text also available at http://palmeira.org.uk/Library/Hoveupdate01.html

20 March, 2005 13:08  

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