Kettering Library Art Gallery and Cornerstone £6.8m roof repair project enters 'delivery' phase

Holes in the roof led to the library’s temporary closure and relocation
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Preparation work is expected to start soon on Kettering’s much-loved 120-year-old library and art gallery complex, and the £4.5m the yet-to-open Cornerstone extension.

Plans to fund repairs to the leaking Collyweston slate roof were approved in December by North Northants Councillors, with the project taking place in several phases.

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The project – with an eye-watering budget of £6.8m – has entered the ‘delivery’ phase that will see preparation work and surveys starting on site before scaffolding and the tenting of the roof.

Workers have already been on the roof of Kettering Library making further emergency repairs/National WorldWorkers have already been on the roof of Kettering Library making further emergency repairs/National World
Workers have already been on the roof of Kettering Library making further emergency repairs/National World

Cllr Helen Howell, North Northants Council’s deputy leader and executive member for sports, leisure, culture and tourism, said: “As I have said previously, this is an extremely complex project and we want to make sure we are doing it right to ensure the building is usable for another 120 years.

“The costs have now been approved and the funds set aside, which means we have moved to the delivery phase - with a dedicated project team set up to ensure the project moves forward.

"As detailed in the executive report in November, there will be two phases - Phase 1 will include procuring the slate and installation of the scaffolding and tent. This will be followed by Phase 2 and the roof replacement.

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“In terms of the estimated costs, (£6.8m) I would like to reiterate that this is very much the worst case scenario, including a 20 per cent contingency, and we are going through a full procurement exercise to ensure the most suitable contractor completes the work for well within the budget we have set aside.”

Foliage and creepers will be removed as part of phase one of the roof repairs/National WorldFoliage and creepers will be removed as part of phase one of the roof repairs/National World
Foliage and creepers will be removed as part of phase one of the roof repairs/National World
Read More
Kettering Library roof repairs could cost £6.8m as two-year closure looms

It was after chunks of masonry fell from the ceiling following several storms that need for the replacement of the 120-year-old roof on the heritage Grade 2-listed library became urgent.

Residents have been told they might see ‘preparation work and surveys’ starting on site in the next few months. Scaffolding will not proceed until the council has gone through a ‘full procurement exercise’ and obtained the necessary approvals from Natural England for ‘bat mitigation’ works. Approval then needs to be sought from Historic England and North Northants Council (NNC) for the plans to protect and enhance the building.

Preparation work will include the removal of vegetation from the outside of the building, which is causing damage and needs to be removed. Tree canopies around the building have also been raised to prevent damage to existing Collyweston slates.

Kettering Library /National WorldKettering Library /National World
Kettering Library /National World
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As part of the wider works on site, the original doors to the Alfred East have recently been refurbished. Whilst the roof repair works are undertaken, the library has temporarily relocated into the upper floor of the modern extension of Cornerstone, adjacent to the existing library.

NNC says it will keep under review moving the library services back into its permanent home to allow Cornerstone to open in full but it warned that the council needs to ensure the ‘protective measures’ make it practicable to operate the library and users are able to visit ‘safely’.

Cllr Jason Smithers, NNC leader, said: “As a council, we have a responsibility to ensure that the buildings we own, like Kettering Library, are maintained and fit for purpose. This can often include making tough decisions around costs and funding.

Masonry fell from the ceiling into Kettering Library/National WorldMasonry fell from the ceiling into Kettering Library/National World
Masonry fell from the ceiling into Kettering Library/National World

“But, I am confident that, as a council, we have made the right decision and that the works are essential so that this excellent asset - which is much loved by the local community - is able to re-open in the future.

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“Residents should be assured that we are now working hard towards that aim and re-opening as soon as possible.”

Costs for Kettering Library roof repairs recently disclosed are:

Construction costs : including existing structure repairs such as timbers and felt roofs and cleaning, scaffolding, tent,Collyweston stone slating : £4.885m (of which scaffolding and tent is £2.5m and slate is £0.9m)

Professional fees, including full design and project management: £0.736m

Development costs, including surveys, specialist reports, planning fees and building regulations: £0.080m

Client/project risk (contingency) at 20 per cent: £1.101m