AMBITIOUS plans to demolish and rebuild Berkeley Library have been given the green light. 

The much-loved old library near Berkeley Primary School will be completely transformed and redeveloped as part of a major project. 

The library is currently run entirely by trustees and volunteers from charity Berkeley Books which took over running the site from Gloucestershire County Council in 2012. 

A planning application was submitted to Stroud District Council in November last year and was officially approved earlier this month. 

Its current building was originally installed as a temporary building in 1977 and has repeatedly been described as unfit for purpose. 

Once work is completed, the new library will serve as a new community centre for Berkeley, as currently the town doesn’t have one. 

Construction is due to start in June, with groundwork surveys taking place in March.

Gazette Series: Berkeley Community Library will be demolished and rebuilt as part of the projectBerkeley Community Library will be demolished and rebuilt as part of the project (Image: Google Maps)

Work will be completed in two phases to ensure that library services and opening hours are not disrupted.

During the first phase, a new building will be built behind the old library and everything will be moved into the new building. 

After this the old library itself will be demolished. 

During the second phase, a second building will be built which will be a community centre with a kitchen and a meeting room area. 

Trustee Eugene Camper said: “We want the new library to excite people and hope people look forward to it opening.

“It’s been a long long road to get to this point, trying to raise this money and then suddenly it all seems to be going well.”

Gazette Series: An artist's impression of the new Berkeley Community LibraryAn artist's impression of the new Berkeley Community Library (Image: Berkeley Community Library)

Multiple community activities are currently held at the library, including an art club, historical society, WI book club, lego club, scrabble club, film club, crochet club, and gardening club.

New dementia sessions are due to start at the library in March.

In the last few years, the library has also hosted pop-up Covid vaccination hubs. 

The library revamp project was awarded £130k from the government through its Community Ownership Fund in December.

Siobhan Baillie MP previously welcomed the funding, describing it as a "good Christmas present for Berkeley".

It will also receive £170k through a Community Infrastructure Levy grant. 

Mr Camper added: “We did have planning permission very early on and we built three disabled parking bays. 

“That planning permission had run out and now we’ve just received it again. 

“We are thinking about calling it the GL13 Community Hub just like the GL11 Community Hub.”

You can view the approved application quoting S.23/2131/FUL or see here -