A new ‘community’ hub has been created for residents in Newbiggin.
A one-stop shop for Northumberland County Council services is being created at Newbiggin sports and community centre.
As well as sports and leisure, the centre will become home to library services when they relocate from their current premises on Gibson Street.
Expected to take place later this summer, the move will provide visitors with an enhanced library service, with extended opening times, improved parking facilities and access to a wider range of council services.
The move is part of the council’s plans to save £3.4million a year in running costs, as well as generate £33million in capital income.
Council leader, Coun Grant Davey, said: “The relocation of the library into the sports and community centre makes perfect sense both for local people and the future of council services in Newbiggin.
“Given the scale of the Government cuts we are facing – a further £58million over the next four years – our market towns initiative; including the rationalisation of our estate, is vital to protecting frontline services and making them easier for local people to access by providing them under one roof.
“Not only does it allow us to dispose of some ageing buildings, which are a huge drain on our resources, but we can make sure we provide services that are more efficient, easier to access and more cost-effective for the public purse.
“Local groups will find a new home, the centre will be busier and more lively than ever – precisely what has happened at Ashington – and it will provide a new focal point for the community that will contribute to the ongoing regeneration of the town.
“In these times of austerity, it’s important we continue to see the opportunities. Elsewhere across the country, key services such as libraries have been cut completely but we are working to protect ours.”
“That is no mean feat but we are confident we now have a model that is going to work for the people of Northumberland.”
In its current location, Newbiggin Library is open just 24 hours a week over five days but customers will now be able to access resources seven days a week once it moves to the new site.
As part of the review of buildings it owns the council is also looking to sell Woodhorn Villa, on Woodhorn Road, and has offered the arts group which currently uses the building the opportunity to relocate to the sports and community centre.
The redevelopment by Arch of two former public houses will continue and become a key part of the ongoing regeneration of the town.
The Front Street development will include commercial opportunities and an office for Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Town Council, along with modern and accessible public conveniences, and apartments available to rent on the upper floors.