Thursday, 27 December 2012

Concern over proposed increase in Blackness Library disruption

I have called on Dundee City Council to properly explain why the length of proposed works to improve disabled access at Blackness Library has shot up from 16 weeks to 29 weeks.

The City Architect has advised me:

“The initial contract period was assessed at 16 weeks. The delivery team has now reviewed sequencing, access and construction restrictions and is advising 29 weeks.  The closure period still remains as 6 weeks.”

Following receipt of this information, I asked for an assurance that a full explanation for the near-doubling of the contract period would be given, but this has not yet been forthcoming from the City Council.

The work to improve the disabled access and some other improvements follows a council decision earlier this year, arising out of a public consultation exercise.  The improvement work planned to be undertaken at the library will create disabled access to the upstairs meeting rooms for the first time.   

I am rather concerned that the period of disruption at the library has nearly doubled to more than six months.    There seems to be a lack of transparency and explanation as to why this has happened and, given that the work is supposed to commence immediately after the festive season, I am seeking an full and proper explanation as to why the library project is now taking so long.

This lack of transparency was wider than this particular project as there was a similar lack of information from City Council architectural services about the reasons behind the delays in completion of the new Olympia swimming pool capital project.

Certainty about the length of the Blackness Library project is vital in order that alternative library provision and provision for the various groups who use the library meeting rooms can be properly planned.

It strikes me that there is a need to find a temporary home for library meeting room users and mobile library provision during the likely 6 weeks the library will be completely closed.   

I have already suggested to the Managing Director of Leisure and Culture Dundee who operate Blackness Library on behalf of Dundee City Council that the Whitehall Theatre could be worth exploring this an option for library user groups, with some mobile library provision for the actual library facilities.