Repair bill for Blackburn library could add up to £2m

This Is Lancashire: NOW The crumbling concrete today which traders claim is a danger to pedestrians NOW The crumbling concrete today which traders claim is a danger to pedestrians

UP to £2million could be spent on repairing or replacing the crumbling front of Blackburn central library because of fears a chunk of masonry may come off and injure a passer-by.

Traders and a senior Tory councillor want urgent action before someone is seriously injured by the fall out from the “concrete cancer” eating away the facade of the landmark building.

All 29 of its wedge-shaped pillars have been hit by corrosion, and fracturing of the concrete cladding on the two frontages in Town Hall Road and Northgate.

The panels starting flaking a year ago and according to Nigel Womack. who owns the hairdressing salon opposite, workmen have been chipping off chunks since then.

He and former Blackburn Tory Council Leader Colin Rigby fear a pedestrian I could be seriously injured if work is not undertaken.

Both want the authority’s Executive Board tonight to approve a full restoration of the library facade at a cost of up to £2 million to remove the risk and restore the “real mess” to its former glory.

Officers recommend the council’s cabinet agree the “full restoration of the facade of the building to its original 1920’s appearance to enable it to become a landmark for the town centre”.

A council spokesperson said £1 million had been set aside in the capital budget but it is understood that the costs estimates range from £500,000 for repair and renewal to £2 million for full restoration of the facade.

Mr Womack, who owns Nigel’s Cutting Salon, said: “It looks a real mess.

“The concrete starting flaking and chunks falling off more than a year ago.”

Comments (8)

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3:16pm Thu 14 Jun 12

Joseph O'M says...

This is fantastic news! The building looked amazing in its original 1920s state - this would be a really innovative project for Blackburn to undertake. Restoration and renewal is the only real option - repairing the existing concrete will just postpone the current problem. If it was still the original stone facade, no remedial work would be needed. Great news for a town whose heritage has been damaged and lost.

See here for a picture of the library in the 1920s http://www.cottontow
n.org/Nimoi/sites/CT
/resources/jCo-op%20
3794.jpg
This is fantastic news! The building looked amazing in its original 1920s state - this would be a really innovative project for Blackburn to undertake. Restoration and renewal is the only real option - repairing the existing concrete will just postpone the current problem. If it was still the original stone facade, no remedial work would be needed. Great news for a town whose heritage has been damaged and lost. See here for a picture of the library in the 1920s http://www.cottontow n.org/Nimoi/sites/CT /resources/jCo-op%20 3794.jpg Joseph O'M

4:07pm Thu 14 Jun 12

sean_brfc says...

Sounds too good to be true. Actually reverting back to attractive old architecture. Please let it happen. An extra £1m or so doesn't sound that much and it would look fantastic.
Sounds too good to be true. Actually reverting back to attractive old architecture. Please let it happen. An extra £1m or so doesn't sound that much and it would look fantastic. sean_brfc

4:57pm Thu 14 Jun 12

richard says...

This would be fantastic - a rare chance to get some of old Blackburn back. The ground floor used to be a department store, didn't it? - a Woolworths or Littlewoods, I can't recall which.
This would be fantastic - a rare chance to get some of old Blackburn back. The ground floor used to be a department store, didn't it? - a Woolworths or Littlewoods, I can't recall which. richard

5:49pm Thu 14 Jun 12

Noiticer says...

It was the Co-op Emporium and had a fine facade. So sad to see the original library plan reduced to a pale shadow with the Children's Library so downgraded and sqaushed on the ground floor
It was the Co-op Emporium and had a fine facade. So sad to see the original library plan reduced to a pale shadow with the Children's Library so downgraded and sqaushed on the ground floor Noiticer

8:22pm Thu 14 Jun 12

M.DANNY says...

The Blackburn Council will spend the £2million to repair this great building built in around 19th century.What about those shops facing the library ,coudn't the owners retore some of their shabby looking shops with a lick of paint.
The Blackburn Council will spend the £2million to repair this great building built in around 19th century.What about those shops facing the library ,coudn't the owners retore some of their shabby looking shops with a lick of paint. M.DANNY

9:38am Fri 15 Jun 12

Joseph O'M says...

Great to see that everyone agrees! Come on LET - get behind this and make it a campaign!
Great to see that everyone agrees! Come on LET - get behind this and make it a campaign! Joseph O'M

11:57am Fri 15 Jun 12

modan says...

The library is a great building,i remember in the 1970s when the new refurbished library was opened with a lift,music room,refrence library and a coffee shop.It's over 30 years now maybe the building need further refurbishments and £2 million pounds required for this urgent repair bills could be money well spent to save this lovely building in the town centre.Blackburn has lot of poor housing and many poor roads leading to town centre.Housing around Whalley Range,Bastwell,Audle
y and Infirmary need urgent fundings to build more new good quality housing around the town.The roads on Furthergate to Blackburn Road,Audley Range,Whalley New Road and Bolton Road need urgent new resurfacing.Blackbur
n is one of worst town in UK for poor housing stocks and poor quality roads in urgent need of resurfacing.I have been to many towns in UK ,some towns are in better shape than Blackburn.The public building like Lirarary,Town Hall,King George's Hall,College and the old cinema on King William Street needs to be preserved for posterity.
The library is a great building,i remember in the 1970s when the new refurbished library was opened with a lift,music room,refrence library and a coffee shop.It's over 30 years now maybe the building need further refurbishments and £2 million pounds required for this urgent repair bills could be money well spent to save this lovely building in the town centre.Blackburn has lot of poor housing and many poor roads leading to town centre.Housing around Whalley Range,Bastwell,Audle y and Infirmary need urgent fundings to build more new good quality housing around the town.The roads on Furthergate to Blackburn Road,Audley Range,Whalley New Road and Bolton Road need urgent new resurfacing.Blackbur n is one of worst town in UK for poor housing stocks and poor quality roads in urgent need of resurfacing.I have been to many towns in UK ,some towns are in better shape than Blackburn.The public building like Lirarary,Town Hall,King George's Hall,College and the old cinema on King William Street needs to be preserved for posterity. modan

8:46pm Fri 15 Jun 12

s_smith says...

Its hardly anything new - bits have been falling off for at least four years. A quick look on Streetview confirms this.
.
Howeve it is a sad fact of life that the officers and councillors of this town and Darwen do not have enough vision to bring about any real change for the better.
.
One only has to look at King William St to confirm this. Over a million pounds spent - and on what? To make it look worse. Naff looking sandstone "cobbles" which will barely last (look at Fleming Square Car Park) and a mish mash of landscaping styles (compare King William, Sudell Cross, Lower Northgate and then Darwen St).
.
And then look at all the street clutter they insist on putting up. Those awful gates in the town centre look awful and those great big ugle street lights everywhere in the town centre as well! No consistency whatsoever in what they choose.
.
The college complex is another opportunity missed. Someone was telling me the other week, something which I happen to agree with, a huge opportunity for a large square or plaza between the big grey building and the NHS building has also been missed, opening up Duke St for redevelopment and rejuvinating that run down part of the centre.
.
And finally - is The Mall going to be cream, white, or dirty beige and pink? I must say I like the new bit, but for gods sake, make the rest of the centre look the same colour.
.
Its time the powers that be grew a pair, grew a spine and actually made a decision as to "this is what we are doing with the town" instead of dilly dallying and pandering to the loudest political voices and the latest whims of that seemingly equally indecisive lot at Capita.
Its hardly anything new - bits have been falling off for at least four years. A quick look on Streetview confirms this. . Howeve it is a sad fact of life that the officers and councillors of this town and Darwen do not have enough vision to bring about any real change for the better. . One only has to look at King William St to confirm this. Over a million pounds spent - and on what? To make it look worse. Naff looking sandstone "cobbles" which will barely last (look at Fleming Square Car Park) and a mish mash of landscaping styles (compare King William, Sudell Cross, Lower Northgate and then Darwen St). . And then look at all the street clutter they insist on putting up. Those awful gates in the town centre look awful and those great big ugle street lights everywhere in the town centre as well! No consistency whatsoever in what they choose. . The college complex is another opportunity missed. Someone was telling me the other week, something which I happen to agree with, a huge opportunity for a large square or plaza between the big grey building and the NHS building has also been missed, opening up Duke St for redevelopment and rejuvinating that run down part of the centre. . And finally - is The Mall going to be cream, white, or dirty beige and pink? I must say I like the new bit, but for gods sake, make the rest of the centre look the same colour. . Its time the powers that be grew a pair, grew a spine and actually made a decision as to "this is what we are doing with the town" instead of dilly dallying and pandering to the loudest political voices and the latest whims of that seemingly equally indecisive lot at Capita. s_smith

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