New look bigger and better Northcote Library taking shape

Published: Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Work is progressing quickly on a landmark project to provide residents living in and around Battersea’s Northcote Road with a bigger and better local library in the heart of their neighbourhood.

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The area’s existing 1960s-era library is being replaced with a larger and better equipped public library and community centre offering a wider range of services.

Construction work is now well advanced on the modern three storey building set back from Northcote Road that will offer a dedicated and improved children’s section complete with buggy parking space, enlarged study accommodation, self-serve kiosks for book loans, upgraded computer and digital learning areas, an events space and restroom facilities.

The existing library building that fronts Northcote Road is 50 years old and was built at a time when library services were much more limited in their scope and whose design is outdated by modern standards.

It currently offers restricted and inflexible space for shelving and no space for computers on the ground floor. It also has inadequate disabled access, no space for prams or buggies and unsatisfactory toilet and baby changing facilities.

Once built the new library will provide 848 square metres of usable floor space compared with the existing 728 sqm.

It will also incorporate environmentally friendly, energy efficient heat pumps - reducing its carbon footprint and making the new building much more sustainable.

Alongside the new library a new community centre is being provided for use by local groups and a nursery. The previous community building - Chatham Hall - was built in the 1950s and is showing signs of its age. It is being replaced with a modernised equivalent that will provide better kitchen and toilet facilities, while also benefiting from its own dedicated outdoor courtyard amenity space for educational, leisure and recreational use.

The construction costs for the new library and community use building will be met by providing residential units and retail space on the existing 1960s library site, along with some flats on the Chatham Hall site. Incorporating housing into the scheme means the new upgraded library and community centre can be provided at a hugely reduced cost to local council tax-payers.

The council’s deputy leader Cllr Kim Caddy, who visited the new library site this week, said: “I’m delighted that this long-awaited project is making such good progress and the new library and community centre are taking shape. It is excellent news for people of all ages living in this part of Battersea.

“They will be getting a bigger and better fully modernised library with a larger children’s section, alongside a new and improved community centre, able to offer much better accommodation to local groups.

“I’m also really pleased that the design for these new buildings incorporates the latest carbon reduction technology, meaning it will be much more sustainable than the old library and much more energy efficient. It is actions like this that will help us reach our ambitious climate change targets.

“And at a time when many councils in London and elsewhere are closing down libraries and curtailing services to save money we are looking to expand and improve our provision to give our residents a bigger and better Northcote Library fit for the 21st century.”