Stop-gap library set to open as plans push on with new £1.9m centre

Peterlee Leisure Centre, where part of the building is to become home to the town's library.
Peterlee Leisure Centre, where part of the building is to become home to the town's library.

A pop-up library to help fill the gap in a town’s service while a new £1.9million venue is set up.

Durham County Council will today close Peterlee’s library as it prepares to move it into the leisure centre off Bede Way, with that new venue to launch next autumn.

Concerns had been raised by Easington MP and a team of campaigners over a lack of access to computers for those claiming Universal Credit and space for community groups to meet.

From Monday, the council will run a temporary area inside the leisure centre, providing six computers and a book loan service, as well as space for community sessions such as toddler groups, knit and knatter, Action on Hearing and a reading group, which will meet starting in January.

The old library is part of the former East Durham College campus on the corner of Burhope Way and Essington Way.

That building was bought by Tesco, which originally took on the site to build a supermarket, for £846,000, with the retail firm working to clear the plot to make it more attractive to potential redevelopers to buy.

How the new library space will look, once completed in the autumn.

How the new library space will look, once completed in the autumn.

Councillor Joy Allen, cabinet member for transformation, said: “Our drop-in consultation sessions earlier this year found that the public were overwhelmingly in favour of keeping a library facility in the town while the new one is completed and local members Councillor Audrey Laing and Councillor Harry Bennett have worked hard to ensure these needs were met.

“A lot of work has been done to create this great space for people which means no-one will lose access to these important facilities.”

The start of 2018 will also see the re-opening of the swimming pool at the leisure centre, which has been closed while works at the front of the building are being carried out.

Temporary changing rooms will be available from January while the permanent changing rooms are refurbished.

A lot of work has been done to create this great space for people which means no-one will lose access to these important facilities.

Councillor Joy Allen

A full list of community sessions and details is available via the news section of the council’s website, www.durham.gov.uk/news.

Peterlee Library in Burnhope Way.

Peterlee Library in Burnhope Way.