Plans to expand and refurbish Alford’s public library and toilets have been revealed.

Alford Town Council has applied to East Lindsey District Council to partially demolish the existing library building, known as Alford Focal Point, and the public toilet block on South Market Place and replace them with an extension which will create additional rooms and new facilities.

The council was given the library building by Lincolnshire County Council in 2021 and the public toilets by East Lindsey District Council in 2020 as the authorities looked to save cash in their own budgets by cutting down on maintenance.

A design and access statement said the proposals will provide a dedicated children’s library which will also include the ability to be used for public events such as playgroups, yoga classes and social events. Income from hire will go to the library charity running the building.

The plans show a dedicated computer space and café servery. An additional office space will also be created which can be hired out for use or used by council officers and members of other public bodies.

A new lift and disabled accessibility features will be included in the build, while dedicated office space for the town council’s clerk will be included.

Designs for the new library submitted to East Lindsey District Council.

The statement said the public toilets, built in the 1970s, were “tired”.

The proposals will see the existing facility upgraded with five general unisex toilets and one changing places/disability friendly toilet.

“The fundamental objective of this project is to reinvigorate this key existing social hub for the town of Alford and the surrounding wider areas, to ensure the longevity of this important community asset and resource,” said the document.

“Failure to move forward and evolve with the modern requirements of its users will ultimately result in obsolescence and subsequent closure.”

How the library and toilet extension could look.

In 2016, the library was taken over by a group of volunteers after the county council outsourced 16 of its “core” libraries to Greenwich Leisure and handed 30 others to local groups as part of a bid to save £1.9million.

At the time it was given an interior refurbishment and decoration in a bid to attract new users.

By Local Democracy Reporter

The former Curiosity Shop in Lincoln is set to reopen as new bar Be At One.

Stonegate Pub Group have been given approval for a major refurbishment to the front, interior and courtyard of the cocktail bar.

The Curiosity Shop closed in February after being unable to renew the lease on the premies at the top of Lincoln High Street.

The makeover will include new furniture, bar, pillars and flooring to the interior.

The owners also plan to replace the outdoor pergola and install a new drinks shelf and courtyard surfacing.

Be At One has dozens of locations in the south of England, but this will be the first for Lincolnshire.

The application which was submitted for the location says: “As with all commercial hospitality and leisure facilities such as this, the applicant needs to continually refresh and enhance its customer offer and attraction at this public house, in order to remain commercially viable and the application proposals should be considered within this context.

How the inside of Be At One could look | Photo: Stonegate Pub Group

“The continued commercial viability of these commercial hospitality and leisure premises ensures the continuing maintenance and upkeep of this listed building for a publicly accessible use.

“These proposals would help to facilitate the continuing beneficial and sympathetic use of these premises, which will continue to add to and enhance the vitality and pedestrian footfall within the local street scene and Lincoln city centre in general.”

It says that the customer demand for al fresco facilities has risen following the pandemic, when diners and drinkers were often required to stay outside.

The interior will see a major refurbishment | Photo: Stonegate Pub Group

The Stonegate Pub Group say that the investment in the site will help to mitigate the “continuing difficult economic climate.”

No opening date for the new cocktail bar has been announced yet.

The new owners have also applied for extended opening times to serve alcohol up to 3am.

The Curiosity Shop announced their closure in February, saying they were “incredibly sad”.

A social media post said: “Sadly, we have not been able to renew the lease on the property and after five years of incredible fun with you and yours, it’s time to say goodbye.”

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