Exciting plans are being drawn up that could see the transformation of Tynemouth Library into a modern hub for the community.
The council’s Cabinet will consider the plans at its meeting in May 2020 as part of the Ambition for North Tyneside programme, which sets out how the council will regenerate all parts of the borough and make it fit for the future.
The current building at 26 Front Street has served the community for almost 70 years.
If the plans are approved, the building would be completely rebuilt as a modern hub that could accommodate library and financial services under one roof.
The council will continue to operate the library and will partner with Newcastle Building Society to secure the creation of a community branch inside.
High-quality private apartments could also be created above.
Councillor Bruce Pickard, North Tyneside’s Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “We are committed to investing in the borough to keep it a great place to live, work and visit. The library would share the space with a community building society, to improve local people’s access to both library and community facilities.
“The new building would be brighter and more accessible, more modern and appealing, and sensitive to the historic conservation area in which it sits.
“The co-location of libraries and building societies has proven successful elsewhere in the North East and we are very excited about the prospect of working with Newcastle Building Society on this project.
“We know how much our residents value Tynemouth Library for its convenience and accessibility, so even though the libraries at North Shields and Cullercoats are within a couple of miles, we will be operating our mobile library nearby while the work is carried out.”
Councillor Sarah Day, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure at North Tyneside Council, added: “I’m really excited about the planned redevelopment and the opportunity to improve our facilities, which would give our residents a bigger and better Tynemouth Library that’s fit for the future.”
The new library would also have a Changing Places toilet to meet the needs of people with learning or physical disabilities.
The move is also part of a wider strategy by Newcastle Building Society to deliver services differently in towns and communities across the North East.
The co-location of community branches with public services has proven a huge success in places like Wooler in Northumberland, and Yarm in Teesside.
Andrew Haigh, Newcastle Building Society’s chief executive, said: “As the region’s largest building society, we believe that our high streets play a vital role at the heart of our communities. We are therefore committed to maintaining a strong network of branches to support towns and cities across the North East. In addition to our ongoing programme of investment in our branches, we are also keen to work with like-minded organisations to find new and creative ways in which we can add value to our communities.
“Our co-located, community branches ensure that local people can continue to benefit from the convenience of financial services on their high street. We’re looking forward to working with North Tyneside Council and the Tynemouth library to create another successful community hub within our region.”
The 67-year-old library was opened on February 10 1953 and will close its doors on February 29 2020 so that exploratory works can be carried out.