Wolverhampton's main library to undergo alterations as part of new learning quarter

Wolverhampton’s historic Central Library will undergo a series of alterations in order to accommodate the new City Learning Quarter (CLQ), currently under development.

Wolverhampton's Central Library. Photo: Google.
Wolverhampton's Central Library. Photo: Google.

Situated around Old Hall Street and St George’s Parade, incorporating the site of the former Faces nightclub on the corner of Garrick Street and Bilston Street, the quarter will encompass the existing city college’s Metro One campus and the council’s Adult Education Service as well as the library.

Listed building consent for the work was given the go-ahead by city council bosses this week. The proposed development follows the demolition of property numbers 3, fi5ve and 7 St George’s Parade plus the former nightclub building.

The work will span a total approximate area of 1.3 hectares. The new facilities will enable the City of Wolverhampton College to move from its outdated Paget Road site, which has been identified as land to build much-needed housing.

Central Library is a Grade II* listed building and the College of Adult Education, known as Old Hall, is Grade II listed, with both making up the majority of the Old Hall Conservation Area.

The proposed redevelopment of the CLQ consists of extensions, alterations and internal reconfiguration to the Central Library, Metro One (College), Foyer Building, Alan Garner Building and St George’s House.

Alterations, restoration and repair work will include re-pointing, replacing bricks and terracotta, redecorations, roof repairs using new felt, stainless steel, zinc capping, zinc flashings, lead valleys and tiles, treatment with rust inhibitor and the replacement of rotten window frames/sills.

A report from environmental planning consultants Delta-Simons, which describes itself as a ‘beyond net-zero’ company, said: “The repairs to the external façade of the library are considered to enhance this heritage asset and will ensure its longevity as a piece of education history within Wolverhampton.

“The vision for the CLQ is to create a learning hub of flexible spaces in the city centre, to meet the future needs of four key learning functions – the relocation of the City of Wolverhampton College, relocation of the Adult Education Services department, modernisation of Central Library and the potential creation of a new sixth form centre.

“This is an exciting opportunity to breathe vibrancy into this part of the city through the proposed relocation of the college’s Paget Road campus alongside the Metro One site and the Adult Education Service. The CLQ can provide flexible spaces that support learning, social and civic participation for people of all ages and backgrounds."

A heritage statement submitted alongside the application said: “Overall, it is considered that the proposed development will have a beneficial impact on the character of the area by improving the appearance and accessibility of the existing buildings, and by providing improved hard landscaping, seating and other features.

“The examples of new build elements to the north-west and north-east of the site will see the largely lost streetscape to the southern side of Bilston Street and northern end of St George’s Parade being reinstated, strengthening the currently fragmented perimeter of the conservation area.”

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