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Costs of upgrading Montrose Library exceed £1 million

Montrose Library.
Montrose Library.

The cost of upgrading Montrose Library as it prepares to integrate Angus Council’s Access service has ballooned to over £1 million.

Work started in December with an original budget of £820,000.

However, major additional works were subsequently added, leading to the budget rising by almost a quarter to £1,015,000.

The large overspend has been alleviated by an underspend on similar works at Carnoustie Library.

The Carnoustie refurbishment project – which also integrates Access provision – was delivered £168,000 under budget last year.

The Access provision includes advice on services and form filling. The service being delivered from town libraries should lead to long-term savings for the local authority.

An Angus Council spokesman outlined the reason for the increased expenditure in Montrose.

He said: “Specialist examination identified that the majority of the windows at Montrose Library were in a poor condition.

“This meant additional work was required for their further replacement and refurbishment.

“Closer examination of the building’s walls, which was possible only after the scaffold was erected, also identified a requirement for additional stonework to be carried out.

“An opportunity also arose to improve the energy efficiency of the building by zoning the heating system.

“These necessary works mean that the original budget of £820,000 was revised to £1.015m.

“Funding for these additional works have been made possible by an underspend on the Carnoustie Library refurbishment project, which was delivered £168,000 under budget, as well as funding from our centralised energy and planned maintenance budgets.”

The initial schedule, approved by councillors in August 2016, set out a timescale of the work to start in August last year and be completed by May.

After work began in December, there was a delay to allow for consent and planning to be in place concerning the specialist conservation work for the windows at the A-listed library.

“Construction works and fit-out are scheduled for completion during August and the library will re-open in its exciting ‘new’ premises during September 2018,” the council spokesman added.

“The library service is operating from 51 John Street while works are taking place.”

Work at Montrose Library includes turning an existing first floor gallery into an events space, a meeting room being refurbished, a new heating system, upgrading lighting and painting.

Planned works for Forfar, Monifieth and Brechin libraries have not yet commenced.

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