In September 2015 asbestos was discovered in parts of the Library and Museum & Art Gallery in Broad Street. This caused Herefordshire County Council to review its short term and long term plans for the building in the current national climate of reducing public funds for cultural services. As a result the following plan for the future of the building has developed:
Clearing the asbestos and undertaking renovations to the ground floor so that the building could reopen, WISH move in and much of the services resume as from 31 January 2017.
Following the re-opening of the building further short term building works are likely. A recent leak to the first floor means that work needs to be done to some of the first floor ceilings and roof . While this work is undertaken the first floor will be closed from 25th March for 4-6 months. In addition, a Big Lottery grant has been applied for to renovate and open a currently closed area of the library for public use.
The idea of creating a visionary new cultural centre to ensure the long term sustainability of the iconic Library and Museum & Art Gallery in Broad Street was initially proposed in late 2015 by the Hereford Library User Group (HLUG) under the name the ‘Rankin Centre Project’, subsequently renamed the 31 broad street project
To take this project forward during Phase Three, the 31 broad street group was established as an independent group consisting of a small number of active individuals with key combined skills and expertise. The current trustees are Jane Adams, Euan McPherson, Kate Seekings and Les Watson.
The 31 broad street group is tasked to submit a report to the County Council by May 2018 with their ideas proposals for the building’s long term future as the 31 broad street project.