CLIFTON is set to get a new public library, on the site of the former Clifton Without Junior School.

Explore York chief executive and city libraries boss Fiona Williams said the existing Clifton library near the Rawcliffe Lane play park was too small – and not really in the right place.

“It has always been well loved: a friendly, accessible place where people can meet up, get online and use a computer for free and enjoy activities: all in a place where people can find books and information too,” she said.

“But in addition to these services, the new library will have a café and a relaxing outdoor space, while inside space will be flexible and easily transformed for performances or other activities. There will also be space to bring partner organisations together at the heart of the local community.”

York Press:

Explore York boss Fiona Williams: "The existing Clifton library is too small'

The plan is to move it to the site of the former Clifton Without Junior School, next to the Vale of York Academy.

Under the proposals, there would also be some much-needed new affordable homes on the site, built in partnership with a local housing organisation.

York Press:

Site plan of the new library

At a time when library services around the country are struggling, Fiona said Explore was in a position to invest in a new Clifton library because of a funding deal struck with City of York Council in April 2019. This gives Explore, which runs York’s libraries and city archive, £34.25m over 15 years.

Explore will be working with Hope Learning Trust – to which the Vale of York Academy belongs - City of York Council’s housing department and Clifton Without Parish Council on the plans.

But it also wants to hear from local people about the proposed changes.

“We want to hear your views on all the proposals,” Fiona said. “Also, we’d like to hear what you think of moving the play park on Rawcliffe Lane to the new site. Your comments will then feed into the designs for the new development. Explore is owned by staff and its community and we want everyone’s voices to be at the centre of these exciting improvements.”

Cllr Darryl Smalley, the council’s executive member for culture, leisure and communities, added: “Our award-winning libraries in York deliver so much more than the joy of borrowing books. They give vital online access, learning opportunities for all ages, social and community activities, a hub for many organisations to work together, news and information services as well as great coffee!

“Throughout the pandemic, they have adapted and delivered essential services to support our communities. Now, as many library services are being cut across the UK, I’m proud to see us further improving them and upgrading the buildings from where Explore’s excellent services are provided.

“Libraries enrich our communities in so many ways and I urge you to get involved in this consultation.”

How to have your say on the proposals

  1. Saturday August 7, 10.30am-12.30pm at Clifton Library
  2. Wednesday August 11, 6-7pm online Zoom session - book through Eventbrite
  3. Thursday August 19, 4-6pm at Clifton Library
  4. Monday August 23, 2-4pm at Clifton Moor Church

The survey closes on 3 September 2021.