PARKHEAD Library Move Would Mean “Challenge And Opportunity” Over Three Vacant Historic Buildings

24 September, 2019 | News

CITY officials are proposing that Parkhead Library be relocated into a major new health and care complex — paving the way for a “regeneration opportunity” involving three B-listed buildings in the Parkhead Cross area.

The new East End Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) hub is proposed for the site of the former Parkhead Hospital/Parkhead Health Centre site in Salamanca Street and is due for completion in early 2023.

Glasgow City Council property officers raised the idea of including Parkhead Library in the facility and the health and social care partnership agreed it would be “a good strategic fit”.

Parkhead Library stands at the corner of Tollcross Road and Helenvale Street and was completed in 1906 as one of the Carnegie-funded libraries in Glasgow. It has no parking facilities nearby and access is a significant problem — it has a staircase leading up to the entrance and no cost-effective solution has been identified.

The library offers a wide range of services and activities and had almost 70,000 attendances last year. As well as adult and children’s library sections and computers for public use, there is a large community space well used for ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes, Clyde Gateway’s food and fun sessions and adult literacy and numeracy classes.

It also houses a Macmillan information and drop-in service, Jobs & Business Glasgow deliver employability support two days a week, it is a base for Citizens Advice and provides a Universal Credit support hub.

The building has an estimated backlog maintenance cost of £515,000.

A report to councillors states: “Co-location with other council and NHS services presents significant synergies and opportunities for Glasgow Life and the HSCP. Both organisations already work with the same partners and delivering all services under one roof would deliver a truly “one-stop shop” approach to service delivery, avoid duplication and deliver efficiencies across all services.

“The co-location of services and collaborative working also provides the opportunity of improved outcomes for citizens in terms of their health, wellbeing and productivity.

“Accessibility would no longer be a barrier for a large number of customers wanting to utilise the range of services offered at the library.

“The relocation of the library will allow the proposed hub café to be integrated into the Library and attract a significantly larger number of people to spend more time in the café and the building.

“Library opening times can be significantly extended in line with the opening hours of the new hub without resulting in additional costs. This would be achieved with the help of self-service kiosks enabling customers to take out and return books.

“Footfall to the library is likely to increase if relocated. It also presents opportunities for engagement with services available through the library by citizens who may not normally go into a library.”

The report continues: “Given the vacant buildings to either side of the library, a relocation of the library would provide the opportunity for major redevelopment and regeneration of Parkhead Cross.

“The building next door, commonly referred to as The Steamie, is also a Grade- B listed building and currently sits vacant.

“Not far from the library, around the corner on Springfield Road, a historic Grade-B listed four-storey sandstone former primary school is currently utilised by the HSCP. However, upon completion of the new hub building, this will also become surplus to operational requirements.

“If the proposal to include the relocation of the library to the new hub building goes ahead, the council will find itself with three vacant and surplus Grade B listed buildings within a very short distance of each other.

“Whilst this presents a challenge, it also offers significant opportunity for major redevelopment and regeneration of the area adopting a master-planning approach.

“The City Administration Committee [has]  approved investment in Parkhead Library from its Town Centre Fund. This will not only address the immediate issues of the backlog maintenance needs and accessibility challenges but will also prepare it for a sustainable future use after the library is relocated.

“Early discussions with Parkhead Housing Association regarding the library’s future use have been very positive.”

The council would need pay between £2million and £2.5million to have the library included in the hub. An annual revenue contribution towards building costs of around £100,000 would be required, an increase of £60,000 over the current figure.

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