PLANS for a new £380,000 library for pupils and members of the public have been unveiled.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is working with Trentham High School on the proposals for the community learning centre.
The facility would be built on the school grounds in Allerton Road, close to the former Trentham Library in Trentley Road.
While the capital cost of building the centre would be met by the council, the school would cover its ongoing revenue costs.
Daniel Jellyman, cabinet support member and ward councillor for Trentham and Hanford, says the centre would provide the area with a much-needed community facility.
He said: “This will be just a few hundred yards away from the old library. There are issues with access with that building, and there was actually a petition earlier this year to have it demolished.
“This will be a larger, modern facility that the community will be able to use.”
Terry Follows, cabinet member for development, added: “One thing we want to make clear is that there would be no charge for using this facility, as that is something that some people have been concerned about.”
A community use agreement would be put in place to guarantee public access to the centre even after the school becomes an academy.
The city council closed down Trentham Library in 2014 in order to save £6,000 a year.
Since then, the volunteer-run Trentham Reads has been providing a book loan service from a conservatory attached to Trentham Mews Medical Centre.
The group, which currently has 10 volunteers, would move into the community learning centre under the new plans.
Organiser Ann George said: “We always knew that the doctors’ surgery would only be a temporary solution, so we would welcome having a permanent facility. At the moment we can only open on Thursday afternoons, as that is the only time the surgery is sufficiently quiet.
“But we would hope to provide a fuller service to the community at the new centre, if we can recruit more volunteers.
“I think we have demonstrated that there is a demand for a service like this in our area.”
The community learning centre would be fenced off from the rest of the school site, to prevent members of the public from mingling with pupils.
Headteacher Rowena Blencowe said: “The safeguarding concerns have been addressed. The quote for the building costs includes a fence around the site. And when the centre is open to the public during school hours, people would use a separate gate to pupils.
“Our school does not have a library at the moment, as the last library was turned into a classroom. Primary schools in the area would also be able to use it.”
The council has now launched a public consultation on the plans, which will run until May 23. If the proposals are agreed by cabinet, the centre could be open next year.
More than 50 people signed the petition calling for the old Trentham Library to be demolished, but the council has yet to decide what to do with the site.