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September 2020
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A new library at King Cross, Halifax, is rapidly heading towards completion by William Birch & Sons and its design has been shaped by the local community who will be using it.

Built with funding from the BIG Lottery Community Libraries Fund and Calderdale Council, the library, which replaces the old one at King Cross is being built on sustainable principles, and has been designed to maximise natural light, with extensive glass windows to two sides.

The new facility is intended to attract those who do not currently use libraries, as well as meeting the needs of existing users. Before it was designed, residents were asked what they wanted to see in the new library, and feedback included shelving that can be rolled away to offer space for other activities; a children’s area; exhibition and meeting spaces; advice sessions and reading groups; quiet areas; wi-fi access; and a cafe with newspapers.

Operations and customer services manager at Calderdale Council Carole Heaton said: -This library will be unique in that local residents have been consulted at every stage of its development. As a result, it directly reflects their wishes and needs. Library staff are very excited about the opening in summer 2010.

A key feature will be a garden area for reading, listening and reflection. A time capsule prepared by local primary schoolchildren has already been buried in the foundations of the new building.

Paul Goyea is construction director at William Birch & Sons. He commented that the company had in the past and also on current projects enjoyed the benefits, along with clients and their consultants, of knowing that the local community has had such a positive input into the building outcome: -In particular it engenders a sense of ownership and responsibility in local people to ensure the delivery of the building is a success and meets most of, if not all, the community’s needs, he said.

Sustainable Building

William Birch is committed to sustainable building methods, and is a member of the Considerate Constructors Scheme. The company won a Sustainability Award in 2006 and has just achieved a BREAAM rating of ‘excellent’ for its construction work at Harlow Carr’s new Learning Centre in Harrogate; the latter has recently been recognised by an industry national award.

Founded in 1874 and still family-owned, William Birch & Sons employs around 100 people with a turnover in the region of £23 million. The company is based in York, with additional offices in Leeds.

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