Plans to move Stotfold Library from the Simpson Centre to a hall in the nearby Greenacre Centre have been backed by Central Bedfordshire Council’s (CBC) Executive.

The plans include expanding the library to provide more books, include more study space and provide an improved IT zone.

"The new venue will provide space for a bigger modern library in a hub at the heart of the community," a spokesperson for CBC said. "There will also be scope to hold a range of events, given the additional space and available parking.

"There will be new flooring, furniture and shelving, making it more appealing, and more natural light and better ventilation will make it a better environment to read, relax and browse.

"New modern self-service machines, which automatically identify and track books, will be available.

"The new centre already has public and accessible toilets, which the current library does not have the space to provide."

A budget of £256,000 has been identified to fund the relocation and fit out the new library space. It comprises a capital budget of £200,000 and Section 106 funding of £56,000 and would be spent in 2022 and 2023, CBC said.

Councillor Ian Dalgarno, executive member for community services at CBC, said: “I am delighted we’re investing in a modern, spacious library, which will provide a quality service for the benefit of our residents. With more study space, a larger book selection and enhanced IT provision, the new Stotfold library will provide users with a greater choice and support those without internet access at home. Our plans offer a vastly improved library service for residents.

“Our libraries play a key role in our communities, as they act as an important focal point, offering vital services for our residents. With the growth in the local area and new housing developments, this new library has the potential to become a bigger and more important part of the local community.”

Stotfold Town Council, which owns the Greenacre Centre, will submit a planning application for a change of use for the Oak Hall to accommodate the library services. Subject to planning approval, a new lease will be agreed with Stotfold Town Council for the Oak Hall, and this will enable the library to move to the new location, CBC explained.

Councillor Steve Hayes, chairman of Stotfold Town Council’s buildings management committee, said: “International award-winning author, Neil Gaiman, has said 'libraries really are the gates to the future.' I am therefore very pleased Stotfold Town Council has been able to offer the library service a modern new home that will allow them to provide a true 21st century library for the benefit of all Stotfold residents.”