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

‘Poor virus control’ is the reason why Lincolnshire suffered the worst avian flu outbreak in the country this winter, officials believe.

15 outbreaks of H5N1 around Alford, Louth and Mablethorpe led to 1.2 million birds being culled since December.

The transmission was ‘unprecedented’ both for both Lincolnshire and the country as a whole, Trading Standards manager Mark Keal told councillors.

It is suspected that lack of precautions were the reason why Lincolnshire saw so many outbreaks of the contagious disease, which is more commonly known as bird flu.

“Poor virus control is the likely explanation,” Mr Keal said when asked by Lincolnshire County Council’s Public Protection and Communities Scrutiny Committee about the high case rates.

“It can be that a premises isn’t secured, or that wild birds have access to the stock.

“Measures like cleansing and disinfection can be used to minimise the risk. [Lack of that] is the likely cause in this case.”

He added: “Avian flu has been seen at unprecedented levels both locally and nationally this year. It is a stark reminder of how animal diseases can disrupt farms, cause risk to the public and cause significant financial harm.”

The government is expected to spend millions of pounds in compensating farmers who have had animals culled.

It is estimated that the outbreaks cost the Trading Standards Services £10,000 and 210 officer days, which have delayed other inspections.

Temporary disease control zones were set up around farms where the disease was found to stop the spread. All of them have now been lifted, and Trading Standards confirmed there weren’t any more suspect cases in Lincolnshire.

Bird flu rarely passes to humans, but is known to be very dangerous when it does. All workers tasked with culling poultry at the infected farms were given Tamiflu shots as a precaution.

A pothole in Lincolnshire has cost a farmer more than £19,000 after it damaged his fertiliser spreader spilling the product all over the road.

Paul Bradley, who was driving in Mumby, near Alford, when the incident happened, has described the county’s roads as “absolutely terrible” and claims potholes haven’t been repaired properly, instead filled in with stones.

He said: “I was driving along and met a lorry coming the other direction, hit a pothole and… a link snapped and the fertiliser spreader hit the ground and deposited fertiliser onto the road.”

Of all the councils in England, Lincolnshire County Council has paid out the most in compensation to thousands of drivers for pothole damage.

Lincolnshire Council Council’s executive member for highways, Councillor Richard Davies, said: “As the council council we know extremely well how much the quality of the road network means to people here in Lincolnshire and we’ve worked really hard to make it very easy for them to get in touch with us about any issues they have.

“What we’re also seeing here is the public realisation of what we’re going to see more of in the future precisely because the highways maintenance fund has been so dramatically reduced.”

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