New Salisbury library plans put ON HOLD

New Salisbury library plans put ON HOLD

Published by Jack Deery at 5:33am 18th June 2020. (Updated at 11:06am 18th June 2020)

3 minute read

Wiltshire Council have confirmed that the project can not proceed at this moment, due to the current economic situation.

The creation of a new library in Salisbury, which was part of the the Maltings regeneration project, has been put on hold

Work had already started to convert the former Original Factory Shop and British Heart Foundation store into a library, hotel and gym, before construction was halted as the Covid-19 pandemic arrived. 

Original Factory Store Maltings Malthouse Lane Demolition October 2019
Work had already begun to convert the old store into the library, hotel and gym

Wiltshire Council have said that the delays to restart are as a result of the on-going economic situation.

New documents, seen by Spire FM, show that the Maltings and Central Car Park redevelopment plans’ budget has been deferred until an agreed purchase price has been achieved.

There is still £5m out of £38m that will be allocated for flood mitigation works. 

All of that money is being borrowed.

It was announced in a council cabinet report on the 9th June

Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of the Council, said: 

"Wiltshire Council had been negotiating with the developer of this site on a deal that would have delivered a new library in the ground floor of their scheme. However, as a result of the on-going economic situation and the significant uncertainties that this creates, the transaction on the terms agreed can not proceed at this moment."

It has not been confirmed whether the new hotel and gym will continue to be built. 

FUNDING REASSIGNED

The money being used build the new site was coming from a grant that the council secured from the the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership. 

They now have plans for that funding to be used elsewhere across the Maltings, as Cllr Whitehead explains: 

"The funding to deliver the new library was due to come from a Local Growth Fund grant the council had secured from government via the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership. Officers are now working closely with the LEP to reassign the funding it has secured to support essential infrastructure provision within the Maltings, including flood attenuation works, that will enable the delivery of the council’s wider regeneration goals for this site and protect future development in the city centre."

The second phase of the project included creating a 'cultural quarter' focusing on Salisbury Playhouse and City Hall

Library hotel plan Maltings CG I View 2
The plans were in place to regenerate the Maltings and Central Car Park areas

It would also see a redevelopment of Market Walk, which the leader of Wiltshire Council hopes will still be able to go ahead:

"The regeneration of Market Walk, where the current library is located, was possible by temporarily relocating the library to the Fisherton Street site. This is still the option being pursued but if that proves no longer workable, the council will pursue other potential locations in line with its wider regeneration ambitions for the Maltings area."

In May, Wiltshire Council warned that the impact from Covid-19 could leave a budget shortfall of up to £51 million

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