In 2013 Sefton Council closed the doors on the historic Carnegie Library in College Road.
The library, which is Grade II Listed, had served the local community for 108 years and was a popular centre for young and old alike.
In December the building will have been closed for 6 years.
As one would expect with any empty building, the Carnegie Library has deteriorated over the years and even the once pristine grounds are neglected. The building has now reached a stage where considerable sums need to be spent to repair and restore it before it could be opened to the public. The community group Regenerus, who were selected by the Council to take over the building, suggested over £1.3m would be required.
The Council has not indicated how this historic building is to be brought back into use, despite 3 attempts to find a suitable tenant. In January 2018 the Council received a bid to turn the building into a speciality restaurant but, 9 months later, nothing further has been heard of this scheme.
Liverpool City Council has taken a more imaginative approach with its redundant libraries. In Tuebrook the City Council is working in partnership with a community group and is even providing finance towards the £4.5m project to restore its former Carnegie Library as a community hub, When completed the building will offer childcare, rentable meeting space, hot-desking, heritage activities, an events venue and training and volunteering opportunities for local people.
Sefton Council however, has a poor track record in encouraging new uses for their surplus buildings and Crosby Carnegie is a classic example. The historic building is a drain on precious resources in carrying out security and basic maintenance. Its Listed status means that the building should be safeguarded and failure to do so would lead to prosecution. However, the Council cannot prosecute itself.
Instead the building stands empty, occupying a prominent position on College Road.
Carnegie is however not alone. The former Civic Hall in Waterloo is also empty but no attempts have been made to market the site for commercial or housing uses. Waterloo Town Hall is underused and could offer an attractive venue as a heritage centre associated with the Another Place sculptures. There are also several vacant school sites across Sefton which stand empty whilst this Council is allowing new housing to be built on agricultural land.
A Conservative Council would not allow precious buildings to deteriorate and stand empty and would work with community and voluntary groups and with private business to find imaginative uses for these public assets.