Residents living in and around Battersea’s Northcote Road will soon be able to visit a "bigger and better" library in the heart of town after councillors on approved designs for the new building.

The council said that the new library will be housed in a three storey building, set back from Northcote Road that will offer an improved children’s section complete with buggy parking space, enlarged study accommodation, self-serve kiosks for book loans, upgraded computer and digital learning areas, an events space and restroom facilities.

Alongside the new library will be a new community centre for use by local groups, including the potential for a nursery. Both will be built on land currently occupied by eight council-owned garages adjoining Staplehurst Court and the Chatham Hall community space.

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The existing library

The council’s community services spokesman Cllr Steffi Sutters said: “This is excellent news for people of all ages living in this part of Battersea.

“They will be getting a bigger and better local library with an improved children’s section, alongside a new and improved community centre, able to offer much better accommodation to the local groups that use it.

“The existing library was built in 1969 and is by today’s standards rather inefficient in its layout and use of space.

“We’ve looked into whether or not it could be refurbished to bring it up to modern standards but this would be prohibitively expensive and would still leave a small, cramped building with sub-standard amenities."

The council added that the construction costs for the new library and community centre will be met by building nine flats and two shops on the existing library site, with seven more homes to be built on the Chatham Hall and garages site.

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Two new shops and flats will replace the existing 1960s library building

“The community space at Chatham Hall is also contained within an ageing building that would soon need a significant amount spent refurbishing it. Our scheme will see it completely revamped, with a much better laid out and more flexible space along with upgraded kitchen facilities, new toilets and its own dedicated outdoor space.

“This is a sensible and cost-effective use of the council’s property portfolio. It means providing much needed homes for Londoners plus a modern new library and community centre at minimal cost to local tax payers.

“At a time when many councils in London and elsewhere are closing down libraries and curtailing services to save money we are looking to expand and improve our provision to give our residents a bigger and better Northcote library fit for the 21st century.”