Funding granted to develop a community library and wellbeing hub in Higham Ferrers pavilion after town council unanimously votes against new centre
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After the unanimous decision to not pursue a proposed new community centre, funding has been granted to renovate the existing pavilion in Higham Ferrers.
North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) awarded £22,310, which will go towards developing a community library and wellbeing hub in the town, with part of the funding being used to purchase furniture, equipment and stock.
A spokesman from Higham Ferrers Town Council said: “The project cost was £2.85 million which would have been met with £2 million in borrowing and the balance from town council funds already held.
"The loan repayment of the required borrowing of £2 million would have increased the council tax to a level that was not supported in the community consultation carried out in March 2023.
"The council felt that in the current climate the cost of the project was too much to ask the residents of the town to pay.
"The council is now reviewing their options for enhancing and possibly extending the pavilion, but as a minimum the pavilion will require monies spent on it to bring it to modern standards.”
In February, a consultation was launched to gauge the community’s interest in a new centre, which would have replaced the facility in Saffron Road Recreational Ground.
However, the current pavilion will remain standing and will be improved to develop the community library and wellbeing hub to provide the area with a means to engage in new social activities, borrow a range of books, and take part in sessions dedicated to promoting healthcare for a range of age groups.
The NNC funds were time limited, so the Town Council made a case to NNC to pass the money to them to allow them to provide a library within the town, which was granted.
The community library will make use of the community room at the back of the former library building, with the hope of also establishing a reading garden in the future.
A release from Higham Ferrers Town Council added: “While work progresses on this smaller scale renovation project, initial discussion has been held with the book exchange and there is a desire by both parties to exchange books, ideas and work together to develop services in the town.
"As we move forward there is certainly scope to extend and combine services to a freshly renovated pavilion building when the time comes.”
The Community Library and Wellbeing Hub will have volunteering opportunities available to enable it to open regularly. Those who wish to volunteer, should register their interest by contacting 01933 312075 or [email protected].