Pocklington library set back: COMMENT ON THIS STORY

Pocklington's new library project has been hit with a new setback – possibly delaying the project by anothee year.

East Riding council said the delay was caused by unforeseen problem with a gulley that runs under the library building.

Demolition work is expected to start on the site this month.

The plan is to demolish part of the existing library building and re-build it, extending the library space. The new building would also incorporate the council's Customer Service Centre which will move from its site at Burnby Hall.

Earlier this year East Riding council put up a sign on the library wall saying the new facility will open in spring 2010.

But a spokesman for the council said opening may not be until next summer.

A council spokesman said: "Demolition and archaeological investigation works for a new multi-purpose facility in Pocklington are set to take place in June.

"The scheme layout is being finalised which will allow the tender process to commence and construction work is expected to start in August. The construction programme is expected to be completed by summer 2010."

Problems with the culvert that runs under the site are the latest set-back for the project which has been in the pipeline for more than three years.

The spokesman said: "Significant design work was needed to bridge the culvert discovered on site.

The plans which bridge the culvert needed to be approved by the Environment Agency before they would allow work to begin.

"The process of meeting the agency's requirements was, by necessity, a lengthy one."

The site flooded in June 2007 and plans for the project, revealed in April that year, were heavily criticised by the town council. The scheme was given the go-ahead in June 2008 when amended plans were passed by the planning department. But the culvert was found in November and work was delayed.

Pocklington's Mayor, Councillor David Sykes, said: "The issue is going on and on and the town is generally disappointed and frustrated.

"There's also a sense of frustration because we're left with no real library facilities now. When the library was shut we though it would be relatively temporary not long term and the mobile library's is limited."

Representatives from East Riding council will meet with Pocklington Town Council to discuss the library at the next full town council meeting on Wednesday 10 June.

Coun Sykes said: "We are hoping to get some information, updates on what's happening and why the delays are continuing.

"We'll be putting some serious questions to them next week and hopefully we'll get some answers. It's communication with East Riding that doesn't always seem to be there. But in fairness we are meeting with them next week, let's keep our fingers crossed."

East Riding council said interim facilities are available until the work is complete. The council's mobile library is in the town three days a week. The facility is at the rugby club car park on Burnby Lane from 2pm to 7pm on a Monday, 10am to 4pm on a Tuesday and 10am to 4pm on a Friday.

Pocklington Town Council offices moved to the Old Courthouse on George Street in 2006 and East Riding council took ownership of the whole Railway Street site at the same time.

The plans for the library, revealed two years ago, were criticised by the town council who said they were disappointed and had expected a better facility for the town.

At meetings between the two groups following the published proposals, East Riding council said that Pocklington would have more library space than a town of its size would normally have. They have also previously said that building costs have escalated, affecting their budget for the project.