|Space for communities: old library, new services
The former library building on Orrell Road is set for a transformation to benefit the whole community.
Wigan Council’s cabinet were keen to ensure the prime location remained in active use as an easily accessible building for both council services and public use. They have agreed plans to turn the building into accommodation for the Orrell and Billinge Community Network shared with the council’s Metrofresh team, who manage the school meals and crossing patrol service.
Announcing the decision, council leader Lord Peter Smith said: “It is important to support the community, who were concerned that the area stood little chance of retaining a community focal point on the main road. This decision is good news for access to important services, and good news for locals.”
The Metrofresh team will move into the building, offering them more appropriate accommodation, and will pay rent on the site. This will enable the community group to operate without income concerns and allow them to develop.
The cabinet decision will also allow a localised book borrowing system there, plus a refocus on plans for the war memorial, for which planning permission was obtained two years ago.
Local ward councillor and chair of the Community Network Michael Winstanley welcomed the news. He said: “I’m pleased that the building’s future has been secured and people can continue to use it fully. The community and council will be working together to see that the site continues to be well used.”
Improvement work to the old building would begin following the transfer of the library to the new flagship Abraham Guest site at Lamberhead Green, which has several ‘community access’ features as well as the high school itself.