�2.8m for new Canning Town library and community hub

More than �2.8 million has been earmarked for a new library and community centre in Canning Town by council chiefs.

The 12,000 sq ft centre will be based in the new Rathbone Market development, which is due to be completed in late 2014.

The space — in the second phase of the new development — was earmarked for community benefit when the scheme was granted planning permission last year.

And Newham Council’s cabinet agreed to set aside the �2.86m necessary to purchase and fit out the space at a meeting last week.

A report presented to the meeting by Canning Town regeneration chief Helen Fisher reads: “Delivery of a modern, fit for purpose, quality Library Plus and Community Hub will represent a physical realisation of the council’s vision for Canning Town and Custom House and its commitment to the local area and its residents.”

Around 5,400 sq ft of the space will be given over to the new library — the same size as the existing library on Barking Road, which it will replace.

Some of the remaining space will serve as a so-called “community hub”, while the rest will be let out to third parties.

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Refurbishment plans for the Barking Road library — costed at around �908,000 — will be abandoned, but the centre will have a facelift to ensure it is fit for purpose until the new facility is ready.

While the running costs for the new centre are likely to be higher — �98,000 compared to the current �61,900 — bosses say they will be able to generate additional income from renting out the former library and any free space in the Rathbone Market centre.

Design work on the centre has yet to begin, but a planning application is expected to be submitted later this year.