Work due to start on Woodstock library site

Work is about to start on demolishing Woodstock library, following the recent announcement that Oxfordshire County Council surveyors had declared the building unsafe.

Problems with the walls of the former Woodstock Library were uncovered during routine maintenance and health and safety inspections last year. Further extensive surveys revealed that the building in Hensington Road was damaged beyond economic repair and since then the county council has been preparing the site for demolition.

Work is due to start during the week beginning 16th September, however the start date could be brought forward on the advice of surveyors who are monitoring the condition of the structure, and a cordon has already been established round the site to ensure public safety.

The preparations included obtaining planning permission for the demolition and the termination of all utilities at the building. The county council has carefully planned the project to minimise the impact on people living and working in Woodstock but acknowledges there will inevitably be some disturbance from noise, dust and site vehicles in the area.

Cllr Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, Cabinet Member for Education and Cultural Services, said:

“As safety has to be our first consideration there is no alternative to demolishing the library building. I know there will be some disruption in the town during the site works. We are doing everything we can to minimise that disruption and apologise for any inconvenience caused to residents, visitors and library users.

“We are determined, however, to ensure there is a permanent library in Woodstock, as well as making sure the temporary arrangements for the library in The Oxfordshire Museum, café and gardens work as well as possible. A full library service, spread over two floors, will continue to be temporarily provided in The Oxfordshire Museum. This includes books, public access internet, activities (stay, play and learn), wifi, printing and photocopying.”

The County Council is responsible for a network of more than 43 libraries across Oxfordshire. The nearest libraries to Woodstock are Kidlington, North Leigh and Stonesfield. Its Home Library Service is offered in partnership with Age UK to people who are unable to visit the library themselves due to frailty, infirmity or a disability, and County Libraries also provides an online library service.