West Sussex County Council said although some disruption is expected, the library in Tower Street will maintain its current opening hours and will not need to close.
The work will see the concrete ribs renovated and the original windows refurbished, as over the years water has seeped into the concrete building and caused the internal steel to rust and expand leading to ‘spalling’ which forces the concrete off. The original windows also need an overhaul to improve the way that they work, the council said.
DBR Limited, a specialist conservation company dealing with the cleaning, repair and regeneration of historic buildings, has been appointed by West Sussex County Council and will start on site from Monday, July 12.
Work on the library building will run until November 2021.
The council said contractors will work on the building one third at a time so that the library will not need to close, but there will be some disruption, including:
- Scaffolding erected around the building
- Access to parts of the library being restricted at certain times
- Periods of noise and disruption for the duration of the work.
For anyone not wanting to come into Chichester Library during the works, free reservations will still be available, alongside the click and collect service and remote digital support to assist customers to make use of the eLibrary.
Duncan Crow, cabinet member for community support, fire and rescue, said: “We know that our libraries are at the centre of our communities and that large-scale disruptions like this can put residents off coming in, but the conservation work is vital to make sure this Grade II listed library building can stand for many more years as an iconic landmark in the city centre.
“We will keep all of our local customers informed during the conservation work and the team will do all they can to maintain a ‘normal’ library service throughout. We thank you for your understanding and patience as we work through this next period of disruption and look forward to reopening a restored and preserved Chichester Library later this year.”
The Grade II listed building was built between 1965 and 1966 to the designs of the county architect, F R Steele, who was succeeded in 1964 by B Peters.
The building was formally opened on 24 January 1967.
For information on visiting the library, including opening hours, visit: www.westsussex.gov.uk/libraries/library-details/chichester-library