The plans for the refurbishment of The Playhouse (Northumberland Gazette, March 15), will have confirmed the fears many had over the future of Alnwick Library.
At the time of the initial proposal that the Playhouse should house not only the present theatre, studio and café, but also the tourist information, library and other services, it was difficult to see how a reasonably sized library could be included in such a restricted space.
The published plans show that it is not possible.
The present library in Green Batt has nine bays of books, a reference section including computers, a children’s section and an audio tape bay. This is small by any standards, particularly for a reasonably sized county town, but the plans for the Playhouse show just two bays of books, plus one long bookshelf.
It is noticeable that over the last year the stock of books at the Green Batt site has steadily been reduced so that it has become more and more difficult to source the books one would like to read. In the proposed space in the Playhouse, it is hard to see how a wide selection of books can possibly be displayed that will satisfy the population of the Alnwick district.
The excellent work done by the library staff with school groups and mother and toddler groups will also, presumably, have to finish since there will be far too small a space to accommodate the numbers.
It is highly unlikely that any comments such as this will have any effect on the planners, but perhaps if enough concerns are raised, it may be possible that some more careful thought might be given to the whole idea of the Community Hub, which I believe has been flawed from the start. It is not possible to put a quart into a pint pot.
As one who, with the Alnwick orchestra, the Northumbria Sinfonietta, has helped raise some £10,000 towards core funding for the Playhouse over the last few years, I support the refurbishment of an excellent theatre, but it should not impact on other vital services.
Little Mill Cottages,