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New library and housing scheme at Loughton Library site granted planning permission

07 November 2023

The redevelopment of Loughton Library has moved a step closer by gaining planning consent recently for a new modern facility with an outdoor learning space. The new library promoted by Essex Housing, Essex County Council’s development arm, will provide modern flexible space for the library and library users.

In addition to the outdoor learning space, the new facility will house the National Jazz Archive, a community space, some smaller meeting rooms, and offices for community uses as well as staff room and other facilities for the library staff. The library itself has been designed to be a flexible space with movable shelves allowing the area to be used for a wide variety of events. These plans have been the result of consultation with Library staff, the public and other library users over many months.

The new library will be paid for by the 38 apartments being built on the upper floors, these high-quality new homes on this sustainable site will go some way to help with providing much needed homes in the area.

I’m excited about these ambitious plans to renew the library at Loughton while making a better use of this publicly owned space. In addition to delivering a larger, better facilitated library, the scheme will result in a vastly improved meeting space for the community both inside and out subsidised by high-quality new homes in the apartments above.

Cllr Lee Scott, Cabinet Member for Planning a Growing Economy

The current library building is in need of considerable expenditure to maintain it, the layout does not allow for the way modern library’s wish to operate, and there is limited natural light and space that is not flexible. The new building has large, glazed areas for natural light with flexible space, the apartments and library will be heated using modern air sourced heat pumps, walls and roofs meeting high standards of insulation, the new building will have low maintence costs.

Plans were originally developed in early 2021, following an extensive public consultation exercise that concluded in July 2021 the scheme was amended to take on board feedback received from residents and library staff and users. A planning application was submitted in September 2022 following further changes in response to feedback from planners and other consultees and was approved at the Planning Committee on Friday 27 October 2023.

The proposed library will replace the current facility in Loughton, which is expensive to maintain and in need of significant repair. Work will now commence on technical design and finding a contractor, while organising space for the temporary library arrangements during the works.

This is great news for Loughton residents and library users. The redevelopment will provide a modern and up to date building for the library service, with investment delivering much better facilities for the community, including an outdoor learning space and space for groups to meet.

Cllr Mark Durham, Cabinet Member for The Arts, Heritage and Culture