Former library likely to be converted into flats

HYDE’S former library could be converted in to 88 flats – and its façade set to stay – after it was left to ‘rot’.

A war of words has surrounded the building, constructed in 1899, on Union Street as it has stood empty since 2015.

But after securing a £225,000 grant, Tameside Council is looking at progressing the scheme and work on further regenerating the town centre.

Under the proposal, the building would be turned into 88 one and two-bedroomed apartments with associated community facilities including a café that should be accessible to all and also provide day care provision.

Hyde Library

A report states: “This will provide a southern gateway into to the town and will kick start other interventions and underpin further regeneration work.”

The development would be part of a bigger scheme, which would see a town centre masterplan which it is hoped would deliver 4,500 sqm of floor space for businesses and 350 jobs, with a number of existing sites redeveloped.

Tameside’s report adds: “There have been a number of studies undertaken in Hyde around current and future uses of the town centre in recent years.

“But there is an identified need for a town centre masterplan that includes a movement and public realm strategy to support creation of a sustainable, accessible and community service rich centre with a contracted retail core linked to public transport entry points and releases of development space in town gateways where retail is currently sited.

“The whole town centre redevelopment is seen as 15 to 20-year programme with short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.

Hyde Library

“New commercial floorspace will be provided by a combination of the refurbishment of existing buildings and provision of new purpose built space via the redevelopment of sites, including the Clarendon Centre, Astoria building, Beech House and Union Street.”

The former Hyde library has been declared a surplus asset by Tameside Council in an attempt to market it.

Conservative councillors have not held back in their criticism of the authority’s handling of the structure.

“Retention of any part of the building is likely to be expensive and result in a viability gap which, may either deter partner or private developer interest, or require gap funding in order to make any scheme on the site commercially viable,” Tameside’s report continues.

“In seeking to declare the subject asset surplus, this would represent the first step in promoting conversion or redevelopment of the derelict property.”

Fierce debate has rumbled on over the former Hyde library and other buildings in Tameside.

Hyde Library

Hyde councillor Phil Chadwick angrily hit back after Cllr Oliver Ryan insisted: “They’ve not been left to rot.”

He said: “I assume that Councillor Ryan has been inside Hyde Library and seen the state of the interior, has been round the outside and seen all the smashed windows and boarded up buildings that surround it.

“To say that the building hasn’t been left to rot is an absolute disgrace and a lie.”

It emerged Hyde’s Labour councillors held meetings with members of the executive cabinet before it met on Wednesday, September 29.

And Cllr Joe Kitchen backed the library regeneration, saying: “I’m looking forward to the old library site being developed. We’ll try and keep the frontage of the building if it’s at all possible.

“I welcome this ongoing investment into Hyde. It’s a pity all Hyde councillors don’t support these initiatives.”

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