Multi-million pound Seaford Library ready to open

Cllr Bill Bentley and Cllr Chris Dowling at the Seaford Library development
Cllr Bill Bentley and Cllr Chris Dowling at the Seaford Library development

The final bricks have been laid in a multi-million pound library complex in Seaford.

The £6 million development will include a new library and café, supported living flats for adults with learning disabilities and will offer services for older people.

Building work began on the Sutton Park Road project in October 2012 and this week representatives from East Sussex County Council and Saxon Weald Homes, who will manage the supported living accommodation, marked the final stages of the building work. The innovative scheme is the first of its kind in the county and is part of an ongoing investment into library services by East Sussex County Council.

Cllr Chris Dowling, the council’s lead member for community services, said, “Libraries are at the heart of our communities and the council’s investment in Seaford and elsewhere shows the importance we place on the service. We now have a great site in which to provide a fantastic state-of-the-art facility for the people of Seaford.”

The scheme will support a new service to offer more direct access to resources in the community for older people with dementia or other mental health problems who have been assessed as needing support to help them live independently.

Councillor Bill Bentley, the council’s lead member for adult social care, said: “It is great to see this project nearing completion. This innovative building will make a huge difference to our clients and their families and carers.”

The Seaford complex is expected to open in summer 2014. While work is carried out, library services continue to be offered from the temporary library at Elm Court, in Blatchington Road, Seaford, while the day service continues at Homefield Place until the building is completed and ready for use.

A work of art is being commissioned for the new library development – and two others at Newhaven and Hastings – thanks to a £56,000 grant. East Sussex County Council’s Library and Information Service was awarded the money from Arts Council England’s Lottery funding to commission three works of art under the title Transparent. Three artists will be selected to create pieces and will share the creative process with local people. These are part of the county council’s £15 million investment in library services.

“We are investing in libraries because we realise that these facilities are at the heart of our communities,” said Cllr Chris Dowling, the council’s lead member for community services. “We are delighted to have received this funding as it gives us the opportunity to add public art commissions and further improve the experience of visiting the libraries. Throughout the process the artists will be asked to make the creative process as transparent as possible and we hope members of the public will enjoy following the artists as they create their pieces. This is also a great opportunity for artists to showcase their work to new audiences.”

At Seaford Library, a shared facility comprising a library, café, adult day services and supported accommodation, an artist will be asked to create new outdoor seating at a bus stop outside the building. A call for artists to apply for the commissions will follow later in the year.