New-look library is finished – and barriers taken off Avebury Avenue

New-look library is finished - and barriers taken off Avebury Avenue
April Clark at the new-look Library in Avebury Avenue

The concrete blocks were deployed across part of one lane at the junction with the High Street by Kent Highways to protect the public while sandblasting and window replacement were being carried out.

Since September, this diversion has been causing confusion with pedestrians walking in the carriageway at the busy Vale Road roundabout instead of going around the barriers.

The works were scheduled to take three months but have overrun by six weeks.

April Clark, Green councillor for Judd ward, met Kent County Council [KCC] representatives and the contractors Amey to try to find a way around the pavement problem.

She said: “Apparently technical reasons prevented a break in the barrier to allow crossing at the corner of the High Street and Avebury Avenue.

“There are strict guidelines relating to the work being done on the facade to the library, specifically the proximity of the scaffolding. It is important to balance Health & Safety regulations with practical solutions.”

KCC’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Michael Payne, who represents the town at County Hall, was aware of the issues with pedestrians.

He said: “The diversion was there for the safety of the public and the contractor working on the library. Some people were not following the signage which advised them not to climb over the barrier and walk in the road.

“However, I would like to thank the public for their patience and co-operation while the work was carried out, and compliment the Highways team for their involvement in the project.”

The £250,000 library project was carried out by KCC in two phases, the first of which saw the library closed temporarily for three months from January to April 2018.

The external front fascia of the historic building, which dates from 1900, was cleaned and the High Street entrance was reopened to improve access. There was also extensive refurbishment of the ground floor.

The second phase saw the space for Adult Education classes increased, the reference library relocated to the ground floor in a newly fitted-out space that was previously not open to the public, and the new windows installed.

KCC’s Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, Mike Hill, said: “I am sure the users of Tonbridge Library will be delighted with the extensive improvements that have been made there, which will greatly enhance their experience.

“A lot of work has gone into the planning and then the execution of the work, which once again demonstrates KCC’s commitment to the county library service.

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