Regeneration

Library services in Hale are saved as council approves plan to build 6,000 sq ft community hub

By David Prior at

Hale is to keep its own library facility after Trafford Council approved a joint plan by Hale Community Trust and Hillcrest Homes to build a new 6,000 sq ft community hub on the site of the current bowling green.

Library services in the village will be transferred from the current Leigh Road site to a new purpose-built building on the site of The Cottage, the existing Hale Village Bowling Green pavilion.

The council gave “careful consideration” to three shortlisted bids at a meeting on Thursday night before Councillor Alex Williams, who is leading the council’s review of library services in the borough, announced the decision.

He said: “By working with and supporting groups of enthusiastic, determined people we can help bring their visions to improve and maintain important community facilities such as these to fruition.

“The Council has had to make difficult budget decisions, but continues to listen to its residents and, wherever possible, include their views and ideas in its final decisions. This is an excellent example and shows what can be achieved. Local new, modern facilities which can be enjoyed by everyone also help reinforce strong communities and provide opportunities for the next generation.”

Below: Hale Bowling Club pavilion, and (above) a drawing of the new library and community centre

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The decision means the threat of Hale losing its library services altogether is averted – and that had been a very real possibility outcome given the council’s need to cut £700,000 from the borough’s library services budget.

The existing 7,800 sq ft library site on Leigh Road will now be purchased for what is likely to be a significant capital sum, while the freehold of the bowling pavilion will also be purchased. All future maintenance and running costs will be covered through the development agreement, meaning the council has no on-going liability, and it will also have a 125-year lease on the library at no cost.

Construction of the new hub will be funded by the redevelopment of the old site into six houses, a shop and office with two flats above.

The plan has the enthusiastic support of a partnership of local businesses and community groups, including Hale Civic Society, Friends of Hale Library, Altrincham & Sale Chamber of Commerce and the WI. It also has the backing of Hale Bowling Club and Hale Veterans Bowling Club.

The new two-storey building, which includes public toilets, could be completed in time for next spring by Hillcrest Homes, owned by Altair developer Nikal.

Below: The plan to redevelop the bowling pavilion has the backing of Hale Bowling Club

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The original tender document said the new library and community centre would be “fit for the 21st century, meeting the express needs of local people”.

It added that the design of the new building will be “attractive, flexible and imaginative”, and that it would “protect the library service from being diminished to the unappealing prospect of a small unstaffed self-service room with no community facilities”.

Below: The current Hale Library on Leigh Road

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Below: A drawing showing the planned houses to be built on the site of the current library

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