Restoration work starts at Crown Street library building
Restoration work is set to start on Darlington’s Library’s main branch in the town centre later this month.
The Grade II listed building on Crown Street will be brought back to its former glory with a 15-month restoration programme that will include the roof covering and key heritage features such as decorative plasterwork.
There will also be improvements to the library’s digital infrastructure and a general refresh of the internal area.
Public consultations, carried out as part of the pre-planning process, have been instrumental in developing the new internal design, which will see the retention and return of some original heritage features throughout the building.
Digital infrastructure improvements will provide access to upgraded technology and the building’s mechanical and electrical systems will be overhauled to improve functionality and energy efficiency.
The popular Crown Street Art Gallery will be retained with a dedicated area to showcase pieces from the Borough Art Collection. Toilet facilities will be modernised with additional facilities including a fully accessible toilet and a family-friendly space.
Decoration will be refreshed throughout, and consideration will be made to attract a more diverse audience with areas for school and education groups as well as older people.
Councillor Andy Keir, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for local services, said:
“This is an exciting new chapter for Darlington Library’s Crown Street building, which dates back to 1885. We’ve worked closely with library users and others to develop a programme of restoration that will retain many of its historic features while also upgrading facilities for the modern age.
“Obviously, some areas of the library will need to be closed while work is carried out and we would ask users to be patient during this period. Our staff have worked tirelessly during the Covid 19 pandemic to maintain as many services a possible and I have no doubt they will rise to the latest challenge as we work to bring you a new, revitalised library.”
Pavement closures along East Street, Crown Street and Priestgate will be necessary for the scaffolding required to carry out the work on the roof and are scheduled to be in place from Monday 22 November until early 2023. However, the library will remain open with diversions and crossing points in place to enable access via two of the three entrances, depending on the location of the internal works being undertaken.
Sections of the building will be closed to the public in a rolling programme of work, and information on which areas are affected at any given time will be available on the website at www.darlington.gov.uk/library.