I want the current central library locally listed

One of my little campaigns at the moment is centred round the current central library building in Victoria Avenue. There is a new library being built in Southend’s town centre, a joint venture with the university, and this will replace the current central library. Naturally, once open will lead to questions about the ‘old’ building (since it was built in my lifetime it does not seem that old). I am hoping to avoid seeing this building demolished, and to this end I am looking at have it locally listed.

The central library, in my opinion, is a wonderful example of 1970s architecture. Whilst I am sure there are better examples, none are threatened. Whilst I am not suggesting that the wrecking ball is on standby I do not want to wait until it is too late to do anything. The library, whilst in need of some TLC, is still a perfectly serviceable building that should be preserved for the community. I fancy some sort of cultural centre being housed here after the library contents have been transferred, although I do have an open mind for any other suggested uses.

I am not the first to have tried this – local listing for the central library was declined before. Anyway, I am going to try and have made inquiries.

Here is the response to my recent inquiry:

The approach to local listing was updated following the adoption of a report, written by Andrew Meddle, by Cabinet last November. It will in future sit with the Local Development Framework Working Party who will consider proposals on an annual basis and make recommendations on additions to the local list to Cabinet, given that the decision is a planning policy matter. However, the Cabinet report agreed that all requests for local listing would be held in abeyance until the Development Management Development Plan Document (DM DPD) is adopted and a comprehensive review of the local list, and local listing process, undertaken.

The Central Library, Victoria Avenue, is currently not locally listed. Given the process agreed above, at present future additions to the local list are not proposed to be considered by LDF working party until the relevant DM policies are adopted and the local list reviewed, although we will keep a record of all requests at this stage.

Here is some clarification that I sought following on from this:

In terms of new submissions, we cannot confirm a date at this stage but as a rough guide it should be later in 2013 once the DM DPD has been through examination in public.

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