HEREFORD’S Broad Street library has been marked for a £145,000 conversion scheme that creates an “information and advice” hub for Herefordshire Council’s contract partner Services for Independent Living (SIL).

The council says the cabinet level decision saw several other potential sites ruled out as not meeting the scheme’s “essential requirements” which included the need for a city centre location, disability access, availability, and very limited revenue running costs.

SIL is the council’s commissioned partner offering care and support for vulnerable adults, children and families and carers.

The council needs such a hub to comply with the 2014 Care Act.

By specification, the hub service needs a publicly accessible central Hereford location, and the service contract requires the council to provide and fund the premises.

Research into possible premises for the hub identified a number of possible sites but these were excluded from consideration because they provided no disability access, would involve high annual costs, were too far from the main city centre or because they were not available to occupy in the short-term.

As proposed, the hub will work out of the front foyer of the library.

The building works – pitched as the minimum required – will convert existing library office and storage areas into interview, reception and office space for the hub, improved accessible toilets facilities on the ground floor and a “working area” elsewhere in the building for library staff displaced by the move.

Completion is subject to listed buildings consent and the council is liaising with English Heritage.

The £145,000 cost of the works will be funded through £30,000 from the council’s Economy, Communities and Corporate Directorate – which has a specific libraries reserve set aside – and £115,000 from Adults Wellbeing, contained within the Council’s approved capital programme.