‘Another part of the jigsaw’: Plans unveiled to move Aylesbury library into the High Street

The High Street offices
The High Street offices

Aylesbury’s library could be moved into the old district council offices as part of a plan to bring more services under one roof.

The district council is discussing ways to completely reoccupy its former High Street site in the next 12 months and moving the library from Walton Street is one option on the table.

The plans, which are at an early stage, could see district and county council services sharing the space.

As well as a ‘state-of-the-art’ new library, a range of advice and information about the district and county councils’ services and purpose built study areas and meeting spaces could be opened in the building.

Plans for a new café at the complex and space for voluntary organisations, as well as the relocation of the visitor information centre are being considered.

Should the move go ahead, a new tenant would need to be found for the space where the library currently is. The managing agents of Friars Square Shopping Centre own the site and both councils are discussing opportunities with them.

Both councils hope the changes will help boost the town’s economy.

Councillor Martin Tett, Bucks County Council leader, said: “We all want Aylesbury to be a successful and economically vibrant town.

“The concept of a library move to 66 High Street could be just the tonic we need to continue the exciting development of the town.

“With both councils co-locating services together, the aim is to achieve savings and deliver better value for money for local council tax payers.”

The High Street plans are an extension of the ongoing work on the Waterside development, which includes the theatre, Travelodge, Waitrose and a new academy.

Space to the north of Exchange Street, currently used as a flat surface car park, is also earmarked for development. The district council is continuing discussions with neighbouring landowners, the county council and Aylesbury Vale Estates, which owns Hale Leys Shopping Centre, to see how it might be used.

It is hoped an announcement can be made on these plans by the summer.

Councillor John Cartwright, district council leader, said: “If we can achieve this move, it will be another part of the jigsaw in place for the town.

“We’re working hard behind the scenes on the plans for the bigger area but are very clear that retaining car parking on this particular spot is extremely important to visitors and businesses.

“But we also know that people want to see more quality shops and restaurants so we are looking for a scheme which can meet all of these requirements.”