Update on Kettering Library roof project


29 January 2024

Kettering Library exterior

Following Council approval, a project to replace the 120-year-old roof on the heritage Grade 2 listed Kettering library building has now entered the ‘delivery’ phase.

At the December meeting of North Northamptonshire Council’s Full Council, Members agreed to the funding allocation. Since then council officers have been working behind the scenes on the next steps to ensure the project runs smoothly and Cornerstone is able to fully open as soon as possible.

Over the next few months, residents may see preparation work and surveys starting on site, ahead of scaffolding and the tenting of the existing roof. Scaffolding will not proceed until the council has gone through a full procurement exercise, obtained the necessary approvals from Natural England of our bat mitigation works and Historic England/NNC approval for the plans to protect and enhance the Grade 2 listed building.

This preparation work will include the removal of vegetation from the outside of the building, which is causing damage to the building and needs to be removed. Tree canopies around the building have also been raised to prevent damage to existing slates.

As part of the wider works on site, the Art Gallery doors have recently been refurbished. Whilst the roof repair works are undertaken, the Library has temporarily relocated into the upper floor of the modern extension of Cornerstone, adjacent to the existing library.  

NNC will keep under review moving the library services back into its permanent home to allow Cornerstone to open in full. However, the council need to ensure the protective measures make it practicable to operate the library and users are able to visit safely. 

As I have said previously, this is an extremely complex project and we want to make sure we are doing it right to ensure the building is usable for another 120 years.

The costs have now been approved and the funds set aside, which means we have moved to the delivery phase - with a dedicated project team set up to ensure the project moves forward. As detailed in the Executive report in November, there will be two phases - Phase 1 will include procuring the slate and installation of the scaffolding and tent. This will be followed by Phase 2 and the roof replacement.

In terms of the estimated costs, I would like to reiterate that this is very much the worst case scenario, including a 20% contingency, and we are going through a full procurement exercise to ensure the most suitable contractor completes the work for well within the budget we have set aside.
Cllr Helen Howell, the council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Sports, Leisure, Culture and Tourism
As a Council, we have a responsibility to ensure that the buildings we own, like Kettering Library, are maintained and fit for purpose. This can often include making tough decisions around costs and funding. 

But, I am confident that, as a Council, we have made the right decision and that the works are essential so that this excellent asset - which is much loved by the local community - is able to re-open in the future.

Residents should be assured that we are now working hard towards that aim and re-opening as soon as possible.
Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of the Council