Library hope for literary village

The home of Yorkshire's best known literary family looks likely to welcome its first static library in over 30 years.

Haworth, well-known for its association with the Bronts, is currently served by a mobile service which visits the village once a week.

But that could be about to change if Bradford councillors today back proposals for a new 3.1m joint library, community centre and children's centre.

The village's existing community centre is based in an old Victorian school in Butt Lane and by the council's own admission is "in a poor state " and "remains a liability".

Chairman of Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council, John Huxley, said: "For the people who live in the village it's clearly a very important development. We would like a library and community centre – it just adds to the quality of life for the people who spend their lives there.

"People see Haworth as a tourist centre. It is that but people live there and it has been a growing area until recently. Haworth is not just a village on its own. It is the biggest centre in the valley."

Haworth last had its own library in 1978.

Bradford Council's Executive will be advised to back the new integrated library, community facilities and children's centre.

Officers also recommend that it be approved for consideration as part of the capital investment plan at a total cost of 3.1m and – subject to the centre being built – that councillors agree to budget 78,000 per year from 2010/11 towards staffing and maintenance.

If the project goes ahead, it is hoped that the model could be adopted across Bradford district.

The new development would be built at the junction of Butt Lane and Rawdon Road which houses two council tennis courts and a small pavilion let to Haworth Tennis Club.

If the new centre is approved, two new tennis courts and changing facilities would have to be built – possibly on adjoining council-owned land.

A report notes that Sport England would have to be consulted formally but positive informal discussions have already taken place.

Football is provided on a council-owned grass pitch next to the community centre, but is poorly drained and has no changing rooms.

If the proposed centre goes ahead, extra funding would be sought to improve the playing field and provide new changing accommodation.

The children's centre would provide a hub where children under five and their families can receive services and information.

By 2010, every community will be served by a Sure Start Children's Centre, offering permanent, universal provision across the country.

In December, Bradford Council's Executive agreed to combine the children's centre with the new library and community centre development.

The report to be considered by councillors states: "Haworth continues to have no static library provision and the community centre building remains a liability, still in need of major capital investment and not fit for purpose, limiting its potential to meet the current and future needs of local residents and community organisations."

The report highlights a number of benefits of building a library alongside community facilities and a children's centre.

These include giving Haworth the potential to benefit from improved sporting facilities and reduced building and running costs for each partner involved in the scheme by designing shared facilities such as toilets and staff facilities.