Background to the project
The redevelopment of the Milton Road Library site in Cambridge began in November 2017.
Customers currently have access to a reduced library service, from a mobile library permanently parked in the Roger Ascham Library site car park on Ascham Road.
Computers and internet access are available at the nearby Arbury Court Library and Cambridge Central Library, as well as at all other libraries in the city.
Cambridgeshire County Council’s plan for the Milton Road Library site, which was shaped by consultations with local residents and organisations, will provide more space for the library along with two flexible community meeting rooms and an accessible garden space.
Historic aspects of the site such as the stone portico will be preserved and reinstated on the new building.
What’s happening now?
The new building is currently under construction and Coulson’s are the appointed contractor undertaking the building work.
Work is progressing well and interior designers FG Library & Learning are working with Coulson’s to coordinate their design works into the build programme.
Timeline of events
|1 March 2017||County Council's application to redevelop the site is approved.|
|11 November 2017||Until the new library is ready a mobile library is permanently parked in the Roger Ascham Library site car park on Ascham Road.|
|26 February 2018||Demolition of the old building begins, but the original stone portico will be preserved.|
|5 July 2018||Decoration of the hoarding|
|24 November 2018||Public engagement session to showcase the designs|
The redevelopment of the Milton Road Library site began in November 2017, but before that back in 2013 Cambridgeshire Libraries ran a series of community engagement sessions and launched a survey asking for input regarding the future of Milton Road Library and any potential community 'hub' space.
Our online survey focused on library facilities, how people might support or use the community space and any other ideas or comments about the local area and the library.
We also held a Young People Group Discussion with some boys and girls aged 14 to 17 who led the questions and provided us with the following feedback.
A public engagement session was held on Saturday 24 November 2018 at the Roger Ascham Library Site to showcase the interior designs for the library and community space that have been created by FG Library & Learning.
It was a free drop-in session where everyone was welcome to pop in for a cup of tea or coffee while taking a look at the library design plans. FG, property and library staff were present to talk to the local community about the plans, and anyone wishing to leave a comment did so via a post-it note as they left. You can read the comments from the event below.
How will your garden grow?
When the building is completed and the new library opens, the garden will be in its infancy – ready for you to shape it for the future!
From October 2018 until January we ran an engagement project in the Mobile Library at Roger Ascham to get your views and ideas for how the new garden will look.
Although there’s a limited budget for the initial garden, we asked you to share with us your ideas, thoughts and visions about how the garden could look in the future as it matures. This is because we want the garden to belong to the local community, so it will be over to the local community and friends of the library to shape and grow the landscape outside of Milton Road Library and community room after the library opens.
We’ve taken on board all 75 suggestions, keeping in mind that the garden needs to be safe and accessible for all.
Gardens grow and develop over time, and the basic garden we provide will be solid foundation to allow the community to shape the garden’s future and growth in the years to come.
The whole community will be invited to remain involved in the garden as it develops, and we encourage the community to raise money in the future to enable the garden to grow.
We’ve listened to everybody, and these are the ideals we’d like to incorporate from the beginning:
- There will be access for everyone – a mix of grass and harder surfacing to facilitate wheelchair and pushchair access.
- The fences to the front of the library entrance will not be implemented (subject to planning consent) to ensure that access to the library and bike racks is easy for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
- The garden will be safe and secure – including internal hedges and gates to keep it safe for children and create a barrier with the roads.
- We received comments requesting scents and plants for a sensory garden - we will put some in, but also allow space for more as the garden develops and the community decides how best to place them
- There were lots of comments asking if there would be space for family use eg picnics – there will be space, and this being a library garden and not a park, we can confirm there won’t be any swings.
- We have taken the decision not to include a pond, as requested by some, on safety grounds.
- There were suggestions and thoughts on wildlife - so we can look to incorporate a bird table and bug hotel.
- Functional elements asked for include a tap, an outdoor power supply (for event use), Wifi, and litter bins - these will all be incorporated.
- To acknowledge the many requests for garden seating, we will put in benches around the space.
We really appreciate all the comments, thoughts and ideas received, and hope that whoever suggested “a big huge tree in the garden that has epic things on it” will remain involved with Milton Road Library garden as it grows to make this happen.
And to the person who asked for a ‘secret bush compartment’ – we’ll be putting that in…. but can’t tell you where.
Some initial ideas from visitors to the Roger Ascham Library site for the future Milton Road Library garden.
What’s your all-time favourite book?
The Friends of Milton Road library have commissioned artist Nicholas Juett to create some bespoke artwork for the new Milton Road Library, and part of the main painting will include book spines.
Nicholas would like to include some of the titles of the all-time favourite books of the people who will be using the library – so we want to know what yours is.
Please come to the mobile library at Roger Ascham to write your favourite book title down on a post-it note – who knows, maybe your favourite book will make it into the artwork!
Naming the building
What’s in a name?
We’ve been thinking about possible names for the new community room spaces at the library, so will be coming up with some suggestions soon. If you have any ideas you’d like to share, please feel free to pop into the mobile library at Roger Ascham to write your thoughts down on a post-it note.