COUNCILLORS holding key roles in the regeneration of Northwich have reiterated their high regard for the Brunner Library building, but say that a potential move is still on the table.

Last month, the Guardian revealed that £2 million could be set aside to move Northwich Library to Barons Quay and prepare the ageing current building for a new lease of life.

Since then, we sat down with Cheshire West and Chester councillors Sam Naylor and Richard Beacham to discuss plans for the future of Northwich town centre.

Cllr Naylor, who represents the town centre’s Witton ward, is also a member of the Mid Cheshire Development Board, while Cllr Beacham is CWAC’s cabinet member for housing, regeneration and growth.

They both confirmed that the building itself will be retained by the council, but for what use remains uncertain at present.

“Northwich Library will be the next big project for the area, but everyone recognises how massively important the library is to the sense of place in the town,” Cllr Beacham said.

“It’s a beautiful building, but we have to consider whether it’s the right place for a library or for something else, and if not a library, what should it be used for.

“If the Brunner building can be brought into some other community use, we should and investigate this and there is no harm in doing so.

“Equally, there is no harm in looking at it continuing to be a library, but either way, it will need investment.”

Cllr Naylor said that on a recent visit to the town centre with Leftwich councillor Andrew Cooper and Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury, they noted how poor a condition the building is in.

“We went down the side of the library and it is crumbling away,” he said.

“We all appreciate the iconic status that the library has. It belongs to Northwich, it was gifted to Northwich and it is going to be retained by the council for Northwich.

“However, its future use is to be discussed. It is going to be restored, but whether it will continue to be used as a library or whether we should create a 21st century, state-of-the-art library in Barons Quay has not yet been decided.”

Cllr Beacham added: “As a council, we are committed to libraries and believe that they have a real value in town centres, which is why we want to put money into them,”

“Combining community use with library services like we have done with the Storyhouse Library in Chester has worked significantly well, and this shouldn’t just be something for Chester, but for the whole borough.

“The idea of collocating is interesting, and Cllr Naylor has always been keen for a connection between education, the library and Barons Quay.

“If we could find a way to have creative space in the old Brunner Library building, then maybe could get something great out of both sites.

“We recognise the massively important place the building has in psyche of the town, and these are all just ideas at present to be of benefit of the community.”