Extension and al fresco dining planned in Sheffield library revamp

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Further details have emerged of the proposed £500,000 revamp of Walkley Library - which is being turned into a shared venue featuring a café.

A planning application submitted to Sheffield Council on behalf of the building’s new owners True North Brew Co - formerly the Forum group - shows that a two-storey extension is set to be built in an overgrown area behind the existing library on South Road, creating room for a kitchen, cellar and staff facilities.

The proposals also involve refurbishing and repairing the library’s exterior and creating outside seating areas for eating and drinking, including designated smoking zones.

As reported last month, two mezzanine decks are to be inserted into the main building, to increase the amount of floor space.

Walkley was among the libraries handed to the community in 2014 amid council budget cuts. Book loans and other services will continue to be offered by volunteers.

A design statement by architects Coda said the extension will allow the existing building to ‘remain wholly accessible to the public’. A glass-roofed corridor will link the new block to the Grade II listed library.

Measures will be taken to ensure customers cannot access the library when it is closed and the cafe is open.

The commercial deal was the ‘only realistic option’ and will create about 30 jobs, Coda added. Last year True North said £500,000 would be spent on renovations and other improvements, while the company will also cover the annual operating costs of £20,000.

Officers will prepare a report before a verdict by councillors.