'Unacceptable' - Kettering's library temporarily shut after rainfall leaves ceiling damaged

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The roof has been leaky for some time

A councillor says the wait to replace the leaky roof at Kettering’s library is unacceptable after the site was forced to temporarily shut because of water damage.

Bins and buckets have previously been used to catch rainwater, with shelves moved to protect books because of issues with the crumbling Collyweston slate roof.

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North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) is set to discuss investment for the roof replacement project next month – but in the meantime the library has closed because heavy rain has damaged the ceiling.

The library is closed todayThe library is closed today
The library is closed today

Cllr Anne Lee (Lab, Windmill): “Councils have a statutory obligation to have a library for residents. The closure only underlines the urgent need to repair the roof.

"It should really be in place by now. The delay is unacceptable.”

Rhymetime and Baby Bounce sessions which were due to be held at the Sheep Street venue have already been cancelled and no confirmed library reopening date has been set.

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People who have books to return can leave them in a box outside the door. There will be no fines for late book returns during the temporary closure.

The library, gallery and museum complexThe library, gallery and museum complex
The library, gallery and museum complex

Cllr Helen Howell (Con, Raunds), NNC’s deputy leader and executive member for sport, leisure, culture and tourism, said: “Following a period of torrential rainfall last Friday evening, water has damaged an isolated area of the ceiling in Kettering’s library.

“The decision has been taken to temporarily close the library as a precaution, whilst the area affected is assessed and repair work is carried out. We will endeavour to reopen the library as soon as possible.

“We have been working with those who had activities planned in the library in order to offer suitable alternative accommodation. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and we will provide an update as soon as possible.”

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A £4.5m project to revitalise Kettering’s art gallery, library and museum complex with a new extension – now called Cornerstone – has been dogged by delays due to issues with the roof and building snags.

The art gallery and museum have been closed since 2020 and the project has been branded a ‘disaster’.