DETAILS of Pershore Town Council’s proposal to keep Pershore Library in the town centre by buying and refurbishing the building have now emerged following a public meeting last Wednesday.

The town council had already expressed an interest in taking responsibility for the run-down building in response to Worcestershire County Council’s suggestion of moving the library to The Civic Centre as it seeks to save £1.8m from the library services budget over the next three years.

But last week the minutiae of the move was revealed to residents, the majority of whom have opposed the library’s relocation.

The total cost of buying the building in Church Street remains a secret but the town council said it hopes to get it at a discount.

Refurbishment works, originally thought to be about £130,000, could in fact be far higher with estimates topping out at about £500,000. But this cost incorporates a complete overhaul which will see the library also house Pershore’s Visitor Information Service.

Both councils have expressed a hope that local residents, craft and tradesmen will step forward to offer their skills and help keep these costs to a minimum.

The work will be funded from the town council’s own budget, external grants and a low interest rate loan. A permanent precept rise as of April 2012 - which works out as £2.68 for a band D property - will help the council cover these costs.

Worcestershire County Council will also pay the town council £10,000 per year in rent, together with rates of about £10,500 per year for an initial five year period.

These proposals will now go before the county council’s Cabinet on Thursday, December 15. If the proposals are supported, local people will be asked for their thoughts on the layout and design to ensure the library meets the needs of all future users.

[optional quote] Liz Tucker, county councillor for Pershore, said: “I’m really pleased with the way the town and county councils have worked together to get to this point. Keeping the library in the centre of town is so important for the vitality of Pershore.”