PLANS to move Guiseley Library into Aireborough Leisure Centre are being criticised by the area's civic society.
Older people in particular will lose out when the library is relocated from its present "perfect" position opposite Morrisons, according to Aireborough Civic Society.
The plans to move the library form part of a £1.2m revamp for the 50-year-old leisure centre with an overhaul of its facilities and the creation of a new community ‘super hub’. The expected £200,000 from the sale of the existing library building is being earmarked for the new hub.
But the scheme is running into criticism from the civic society which believes the move could have unforeseen effects on current and potential library users.
In a statement issued this week the society says:"There was a consultation on the improvements to the Leisure Centre which we welcomed, but the move of the library into the building was not included at that time.
"The current position on Otley Road is highly visible to all residents and is well used. It is also close to shops and next to bus services to all local areas - it is a perfect location.
"Moving the library to the Leisure Centre could very easily reduce usage. It is a move away from the centre. New residents will not be able to see it. It is much further away from shops and good local transport, and this will particularly disadvantage older library users. Car parking is already often difficult at the Leisure Centre and this will also put off other library users, as well as adding to parking problems at the Leisure Centre.
"ACS considers that a full consultation with the current library users and the local community is essential. The possible implications of moving the library must be shown to have been considered. It is disappointing that neither the Aireborough Neighbourhood Forum nor Aireborough Civic Society have been consulted about these plans."
The move was announced by Leeds City Council in November along with the £1.2m spending package.
The wide-ranging proposals were approved by Leeds City Council’s executive board and work was expected to begin in March.
A facelift will be given to the centre's swimming pool and facilities.The scheme will include cubicles, showers and toilets in the swimming changing rooms and the pool hall, with the pool deck re-tiled and improvements made to the walled areas.
The revamp will also include the building’s reception, entrance to the car park and the front of the building. The scale of the work has been made possible by a successful £500,000 bid to Sport England, with the rest of the funding coming from the council.
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said: "Our plans will see the creation of a Community Hub, offering help, advice and information on issues such as housing, council tax and access to job shops in one new home at Aireborough Leisure Centre. This is an exciting prospect for Guiseley and one we are looking forward to progressing."
The scheme was warmly welcomed last year by the three Guiseley and Rawdon councillors.