Big thanks to young filmmaker Ciaran Tunmer who has made this short film about the day we spent at his former school, Milton Road Primary School, as part of our The Art of Reading project. Enjoy! And please share…
As agreed the portico from the old building will be reinstated as the entrance to the new facility. The stonework was carefully removed and stored before the main demolition started. Work to clear the site has, however, had to be put on hold at present because more contamination was unexpectedly found beneath the building and removing it needs careful planning.
Milton Road Library is a valued and important civic building in this residential area between Chesterton and Arbury. It has recently been demolished as part of a redevelopment plan to create an improved library and community space (with flats above). There will be a much improved garden area as part of this with doors out from the children’s area plus places to sit and plants and trees to enjoy. We plan for it to be inviting and welcoming for all (not just library users).
A number of trees were removed and all have been fully pollarded to clear access. What had been a green and leafy corner passed by hundreds of people each day has become a blank building site surrounded by large hoardings – these will be there until March 2019 at the earliest.
Our plan is for a project that is as joyous and inclusive as possible, involving our youngest members of our communities and their families and educators. Members of the library steering group and artist Jo Tunmer ran a whole day workshop last Friday involving the whole of Milton Road Primary School. In doing so the children were asked:
- What’s your favourite book/author?
- Where do you like reading?
- Where’s the most surprising place you’ve read/been read to?
- Who is your favourite reading companion? Can you describe them and draw them?
- Can you describe and draw a fantastical place you would like to read in?
A total of 253 pieces of art were created and elements from them will be included in the new coverings for the hoarding. It is expected that some of the work will also be displayed in the new library when it reopens.
Friends of Milton Road Library plan to work with the County Council and the developers to transform the hoardings around the current building site with some of the drawings, creating a temporary gallery that celebrates the children’s creativity and that everyone can enjoy. To do this we need to raise funds. www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/theartofreading
Today every child in a local primary school has been involved in a project run by volunteers and the Friends of Milton Road Library called The Art of Reading. The children have been thinking about the stories they enjoy, and produced some wonderful drawings and writing.
The organisers hope to take some of the children’s drawings and use them to transform the ugly grey hoardings around the new library building site into a fantastic temporary artwork for everyone to enjoy. The children’s work will be displayed for a year or so while the new library is being built, turning the site into a vibrant celebration of the creativity of the Milton Road community.
Although everyone involved is donating their time for free, it would cost about £4,000 to produce enough panels cover the entire hoarding. We hope the council and developers will help, but we are also running a fundraising campaign and hope that you can help. The more we raise, the bigger the display will be. Please, donate what you can – even a small gift will help make this idea a reality! And please tell your family and friends, share it on social media, and do get in touch if you have any ideas about how to make this happen!
The building contractor, Coulsons, sent an update to all local residents and stakeholders.
Further to our letter on the 30th November 2017, Coulsons can confirm a revised official start date of Monday 26th February 2018. You will note preliminary works have been carried out over the last month, which include tree and stone work removal, the front stone will be reinstated on front elevation of the new building, allowing the feel of the old build to be retained.
We will continue with preliminary works over the course of this week, with additional hoarding to be erected to the
site perimeter and the installation of site entrance gates as per the below plan, the site will also receive delivery of welfare units on Tuesday 20.02.18 and Wednesday 21.02.18. With this in mind, we respectfully request the parking bays on Ascham Road in front of the below gates are left clear as of Tuesday 20.02.18 AM, we will place ‘no waiting cones’ at 6am on Tuesday 20.02.18. Your cooperation on this item would be greatly appreciated and will allow for smooth egress and ingress to and from site, limiting disruption to the Ascham/ Milton Road junction.
Read the rest here:
MRL Resident Letter 19.02.18-2
The County Council has now moved on with their project to replace our library with a new one, complete with community facilities as well.
The original library building closed on 10th November and for now we have a temporary facility in a mobile library further up Ascham Rd by the school. There is a good range of books, including for children, and the same hours as the library
The Coulson Building Group were appointed as the design and build contractors for this project. One of the strong features of our library, the entrance way portico, is to be saved and reconstructed on the new building.
The contractors are now about to demolish the old building. Construction is expected to be completed and the new building open within a year.
After consultation and agreement with local residents, Friends of the Milton Road Library and other stakeholders, revised plans were received and validated by the council’s planning office on 23 November 2016.
“16/2060/FUL | Erection of a mixed-use development comprising a library and community facility at ground floor with seven residential flats on the upper floors (comprising two x 2 bed units and five x 1 bed units) along with cycle parking and associated landscaping, following the demolition of the existing building on site. | Milton Road Library Ascham Road Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB4 2BD”
The application was granted permission on 11 August 2017. Details of the application can be viewed on Cambridge Council’s Planning website as application 16/2060/FUL.
Further work has been completed on developing the library to be a community hub with library and community facilities. Having obtained planning consent work is now in progress to confirm certain matters and to complete the necessary legal arrangements.
The Coulson Building Group has been appointed as the design and build contractors for this project. The contractors are now in a position to begin on the detailed design stage, and this will take around 12 weeks. The construction programme will be developed by the contractors. It is hoped that construction will begin towards the end of 2017, and is expected to be completed within a year.
During the demolition and build period temporary mobile library provision will be made available: one of the mobile library lorries will be made available in the Roger Ascham site next to Milton Road school. It will unfortunately only have a much smaller stock of books than we are used to and no IT facilities. Arbury library will however be open for additional house each week. Full details on the temporary arrangements we will publish once finalised by the Library Service.
First opened in 1937, we celebrated our library’s 80th anniversary with a great party on 24th June. Starting off with special Story Sharing session for younger children at 2.30, the afternoon had something for everyone, and not just the endless supplies of tea and cakes. Many of these were donated by Friends who also lent bunting and helped decorate the library and garden.
A powerpoint presentation on the history of the library had been put together by Dr Sarah Preston and this ran all afternoon. Our library was built by local builders Kidman and Sons, and former councillor Ian Kidman was able to attend and provide us with some history of his family’s firm. A further reminder of the past was provided by a pictorial display of toys from the 1930’s.
Friends and supporters kindly donated a large collection of books for us to sell on our book stall. We ran a traditional lucky-dip bran tub for children who were also offered a literary quiz based around a set of books in the library. Joy Rutherford provided an interactive talk about illustrating children’s books which really captured the attention of children at the event.
A quartet of sax musicians provided a great selection of songs for much of the afternoon after which two teenage girls from Chesterton Community College brought their guitars and voices to add to the atmosphere of the occasion.
A special 80th anniversary cake cut for us by local resident and library user Ray Abraham (who is in his 80’s) and Jasper Osler (aged 8), with assistance from this year’s Mayor of Cambridge, George Pippas.
To ensure that our wonderful library building remains in our memories we have commissioned a painting from the renowned, and local artist, Nicholas Juett. At the end of the afternoon, Nicholas was able to provide us with a talk about the painting he is planning and got us to provide feedback on his ideas for it.
A new set of plans were developed late last year for the replacement of Milton Road library. Those attached to the planning application at the end of June were subject to extensive criticism from local residents, from the Friends of Milton Rd Library, and from the city council’s Urban Design and Conservation officers. That application has been withdrawn. In response to the criticism there was a radical rethink and the new plans are substantially different.
- The scale and massing of the building is much reduced
- Only 7 flats above the ground floor are now proposed instead of 10
- The flats would be on top of the ground floor but separated into two buildings
- The proposed balconies and roof terrace have been removed
- The Ascham Rd front of the building would be moved further back from the pavement
- More of the trees would be retained
- The library and community facilities on the ground floor would be smaller than previously proposed but still slightly larger than at present
Work on the plans is still continuing with some further amendments being put forward. Regrettably it appears that the proposal to address the problem of the pavement’s blind corner where Ascham Rd meets Milton Rd is no longer in the plans.
The revised plans are on the City Council’s planning web site under reference 16/2060/FUL and are still the subject of consultation.