ASBESTOS particles have been found in air samples taken inside Northwich Library.

Although levels are low enough to allow workmen to enter the building, further sampling is needed before any refurbishment or demolition work can go ahead.  

Since the library closed in August as a precaution amid structural safety concerns, Cheshire West and Chester Council have carried out surveys and testing, with more in-depth investigations planned in the coming weeks.

The restoration aims to make the library fit for purpose for future generations of users.

A spokesman for Chester West and Cheshire Council said: “Northwich library has been closed since August for detailed surveys and structural investigations as we prepare the building for its renovation.

“Following in-depth investigations and analysis of air samples, an independent report stipulates it is safe for people to enter the building and work on its perimeter as background checks have taken place and levels are currently below minimum safety levels.

“The council has a duty to manage asbestos containing materials, this is undertaken with an asbestos register for our assets.

“Additional surveys are legally required for refurbishments and demolition.

“The project will undertake this sampling when the building is safely propped before any significant remedial work takes place."

Northwich Guardian: Historic Northwich Library (Newsquest)Historic Northwich Library (Newsquest) (Image: Newsquest)

Northwich town councillor Andrew Cooper said: “It is a very old building, so I don't think the presence of asbestos is too surprising.

“I think it's just about making sure it is safe for library staff to access so they can get equipment and stock ready to be moved."

Sandiway, Barnton and Weaverham libraries are currently operating extended opening hours to make it easier for Northwich residents to access basic library services.

A new temporary home for library services and events in the town has yet to be identified while the restoration is carried out, however a decision on a location is expected in October.

Northwich town councillor Brian Holland said: “What was a hub for Northwich people has been taken away, and not yet been replaced.”

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