The body which oversees a £22.4 million spending programme on new projects across Hereford has backed moving the city’s new library and learning centre to the historic but run-down Shirehall.

The vote by the 13-strong Stronger Hereford board effectively sanctions £3 million from the government’s Stronger Towns Fund to go towards Shirehall, rather than the city's Maylord Orchards shopping centre as previously planned.


But the sum still has to be signed off by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The board’s chair Abigail Appleton, who is also principal of Hereford College of Arts, said: “The library is a flagship project for our city and vitally important for residents of all ages so we needed to explore and understand all the implications of the relocation.


“We have worked extremely closely with the project team at Herefordshire Council to dig into the details of the new proposal and consider its benefits, risks and mitigation.”

She said the board “will continue to work closely with the council team as the project develops, to monitor progress and ensure all is done to make the library the flagship destination for Hereford that we expect”.

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Welcoming the board’s backing, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for community services and assets Coun Harry Bramer said: “I now look forward to working with officers to deliver a library and learning space that we can all be proud of in an iconic Herefordshire building.”

The switch has been a key policy of the county’s minority Conservative administration which took over control of the council last May.

But Green group leader on the council Ellie Chowns claimed in October that the Shirehall project “risks being a white elephant” that could cost up to £8 million given the backlog of repairs needed to the 19th-century civic building.