New ideas for library

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A LIBRARY could be allowed to serve alcohol and stay open until 11pm for specific events if plans get the go-ahead.

A proposal has been submitted to alter the opening hours and the terms of use to stage ticketed literary events at the Central Library, in York Road, Hartlepool.

The move is set to be discussed by Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee at a meeting next week.

The proposal has been recommended to be approved by council officers.

A council report which will be discussed at the meeting states: “The application seeks consent to add uses to the existing permissions, including permission to sell alcohol at specific ticketed literary events taking place in the central library, and the ability to hold small scale literary murder/ mystery plays.

“Hartlepool Central Library will not require any alterations either internally or externally as the current layout is suitable to hold the proposed additional uses.

“It is considered that the proposed additional use will be unlikely to have a significant impact upon the character and appearance of the area or highway safety.“

The library opening hours could be increased from 10am-6pm, Monday to Friday, and 10am-2pm, on Saturdays, to 10am-11pm, Monday-Saturday, under the new proposal.

Bosses say this is to accommodate the addition of the literary events, while still providing the library services under the original operating hours.

Council officers say the move should not have a major impact on the area around the library as most other businesses will be closed when events are expected to be held.

The report adds: “It is considered that the proposed additional uses of Central Library, including the later opening times and the prospective licence to sell alcohol, would not have any detrimental impacts upon business owners and nearby residents to the site.

“Due to the time of day the proposed literary events and murder/mystery plays are to be carried out, the new additional proposal should not cause any additional traffic at the peak time.

“Most stores and businesses in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre and York Road close at approximately 6pm.”

The proposal will be discussed at the next planning committee meeting at Hartlepool Civic Centre, in Victoria Road, at 10am on Wednesday, April 3.