Approval for investment in ACCESS office integration

Carnoustie Library
Carnoustie Library

Angus Council’s communities committee has approved funding for work for the ACCESS Office integration programme.

The committee agreed a report on Tuesday that included an approval for an estimated cost of £2,385,000 for the investment in the ACCESS/Libraries Integration Programme for Carnoustie Library, part of Forfar Library and Montrose Library.

The report also called for the committee to note that the funding in ‘Later years’ for Brechin Library, the balance of Forfar Library and Monifieth Library will be subject to further Committee approval.

The local authority is aiming to integrate the ACCESS offices and libraries following a detailing examination in to the idea, to help make best use of their property estate.

The change will also see the provision of Police Scotland counter services within each burgh on a limited basis. The joint ACCESS/Police facility at Monifieth would transfer to the library under the plans.

The report also outlined the works required at each library to allow for the integration.

Works common to all burgh libraries include the removal of existing library counters, installation of new counter service points, creation of flexible space/interview Pod areas, the establishment of new learning centre areas and event areas, and the provision of flexible spaces which can be used by the community and other council services, as well as new floor coverings and full redecoration throughout.

In Carnoustie, some of the works specific to the library include upgrades to the staff kitchen area, the lighting and the first floor galley kitchen. Internal painting is also outlined for the adult lending area and first floor rear areas, as well as external paint and repairs.

The time-scale for Carnoustie would see the work commencing in February of next year, with a contract period of 20 weeks. It would be the first site to complete the programme of works, with Montrose Library scheduled to be the second library to complete the works in 2018.

Carnoustie’s ACCESS Office is currently based in offices within the Burgh Chambers building. As for the future of that building, the report said: “The Council’s Agile Angus Programme is proposing that this building may be retained and used as a shared locality hub.”

At Monifieth Library, the integration would free up the ACCESS office function at the joint ACCESS/ Police Scotland Office on the High Street, with the building possibly ending up on the open market.

The report explained: “This site will initially be considered for affordable housing dependent on current need and planning requirements. If not suitable and not required by any other council service then this will release the site as surplus to the council’s needs for disposal on the open market or consideration under community asset transfer.”

According to the report, work to Monifieth library would include incorporating the community lounge into the ground floor Library/ACCESS facility, requiring the formation of a large structural opening. The report continued: “The first floor is to be significantly refurbished and will provide agile work spaces. It is assumed that the existing first floor council chamber will be utilised as the new facility’s events area.”

In the report, the indicative programme for work at the site, has a start date for work commencing as January 2021, with a contract period of 20 weeks.

For each site, the estimated total anticipated investment for the ACCESS/ libraries integration is £590,000 for Carnoustie and £540,000 for Monifieth.