Hereford’s new library is now almost certain to be in the city’s Shirehall rather than Maylord Orchards, following a recommendation from a much-anticipated review.

The incoming Conservative administration halted the Maylord plan shortly after coming into office in May. The plan had been to move the library there from its home alongside the city’s museum in Broad Street as part of a major programme of Government-funded improvements to the city.

A newly published full business case by external consultants now says the cost of “increasing the footprint” for the library, including a new learning centre, would be £516,000 for Maylord Orchards versus £390,000 for the slightly larger space in the Shirehall.


In the Shirehall, this could be more readily integrated with other community services, while the building also offers more opportunities to generate income through hiring out rooms and hosting chargeable events and activities, including on its Assembly Hall stage, according to a report for the council’s ruling cabinet.

Retaining the space in the council-owned Maylord Orchards for retail use would meanwhile provide it with an income stream that would otherwise be forgone, it said. However the Shirehall plan would take longer to implement.

Hereford Times: Hereford's Shirehall at presentHereford's Shirehall at present (Image: LDRS)

The cabinet is expected to back the Shirehall plan next week, and to then ask the Stronger Towns Board, which oversees the project funding locally, to seek approval to transfer around £2.6 million of funding from the Maylord project to Shirehall.


Herefordshire Council had also committed nearly £400,000 to the relocation project which, should the main funding transfer be granted, would leave a £3 million total pot to fund the Shirehall project.

However this is contingent on a further £4.2 million-worth of essential refurbishment works to the building, £3 million of which has yet to be backed by councillors.

The library has shared a premises with the city’s museum since 1874, but is now being housed temporarily in Friars Street while work begins on turning the Broad Street building into a major exhibition space.