A STRUCTURAL investigation is to take place at Northwich Library after 'movement' was spotted in a rear wall.

In recent months, Cheshire West and Chester Council has been drawing up plans to refurbish the Witton Street facility.

During this process, issues with the age and condition of the existing timber-framed building were identified and temporary scaffolding was erected on the advice of a structural engineer as a precaution.

But further movement in the wall was noted and the council have now instructed an engineer to inspect the scaffold and ensure it is providing the necessary protection.

While this investigation takes place, the council has taken the decision to temporarily close the library as it awaits assurances on condition of the rear wall.

Councillor Louise Gittins, leader of CWAC, said: "Northwich library is an old building which is in much need of repair.

"The council is investing in the building’s future to carry out these vital improvements and plans are in place to begin this work shortly.

"It is in a poor condition, and our teams are constantly monitoring its condition while the necessary permanent repairs are designed.

"As ever, public safety is the key priority for the council and once we have received the results of the survey, we will be able to advise further.

"We apologise for the inconvenience this closure causes library users. Alternative library services are available nearby and we look forward to the day when work will start to transform this treasured building and continue to provide this valued public service."

Northwich Witton ward councillor Sam Naylor, who has campaigned for improvements to the library for nine years, is determined to keep a library service running in the town centre.

He said: "This is disappointing news for myself and for those people who use the library.

"I want to reassure people we have funds and plans to upgrade the building and the library service within it.

"Myself and other Northwich councillors are determined to get the library service up and running, either at this building or in another part of town."

Alternative facilities are available at Sandiway, Barnton and Weaverham libraries which are open and will be offering extended opening hours while Northwich is closed. 

Online services, including eBooks, can be accessed 24 hours a day at cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/libraries.

All loans due back this week have been renewed for a further three weeks.