It has taken longer than expected, but on 16 March Woking Borough Council's Planning Committee unanimously approved the planning application for NewSPAL's prospective new library in the centre of Woking (in Morris House, Commercial Way, Woking). The library will be on the ground floor of two large former shops (currently empty shells) facing on to one of the main pedestrianised shopping streets. It is near the station and town centre car parks and there is controlled vehicle access for deliveries and collections at the rear. You can take a look at the proposed floor plan by clicking the documnet at the bottom of this page.
The area on the left and top of the plan is the main browsing area which will be open to all visitors. It has full height glass windows along the street frontage which can be used as display areas when the library is closed or can be opened fully if (for example) we wanted to have an event (e.g. a chamber music group) performing which passers-by could listen to. The browsing area is flexible so it could also be arranged for small group events when the library is closed to the public. The working area for the librarians (who will definitely include an experienced music librarian) is immediately behind the reception desk so they will always be readily available to help visitors when the library is open. To the right of the plan and along the bottom is the storage areas for stock (including all the current rolling stacks which will be moved from Ewell).
We believe that the building and its design, which we worked on together with the council’s experts, suit our needs and those of our users very well, and we are looking forward to becoming a positive cultural presence in the town centre.
The next stage is for us to have detailed discussions with Woking on the terms of a lease and also on the arrangements for the fitting out (including who pays for what). This is a busy time for all local authorities and we also have to co-ordinate with Surrey County Council. Because of this, the timing is not within our control, but planning permission is an important first step which we are delighted to have taken, and we will be pressing ahead as quickly as we can.