Citizens Advice could move into Uckfield Library

Uckfield Library is pictured on the right in High Street. Currently the building is under scaffolding. Photograph: From Uckfield News files.

Uckfield Citizens Advice could move into the town’s library to operate alongside library services, according to East Sussex County Council.

The NHS already has an office in the building.

A planning application has been submitted to allow the branch to move from its current base at The Hub to the library in the High Street.

Consultation

The application will be decided by the county council after consultation with Uckfield Town Council and Wealden District Council.

If approved, the charity will be able to offer free, independent, confidential advice on issues such as money, benefits, housing and employment from the library which is run by East Sussex County Council.

Kate Davidson, Wealden Citizens Advice chief executive, said: “Our current base has served us well but it is an old, temporary building which is in urgent need of work.

Support

“This move would give us an ideal opportunity to continue to support Uckfield residents who rely on our services from a more modern, permanent base, from where people need us – in the heart of Uckfield.”

Nick Skelton, East Sussex County Council’s assistant director for communities, said: “Our libraries are currently closed to protect our staff and the community from Covid-19, but work has continued behind the scenes to ensure everything is ready for when we are able to reopen.  

Role

“Having Citizens Advice in the library building would enhance its role as an important community resource.  People who come to the charity for support would have access to library services such as free internet access and wifi, courses and advice, while library users may also benefit from having Citizens Advice in the same building.”

During lockdown, contractors have been able to safely install new carpet and decorate the rooms on the ground and first floor that the charity will use.

Fantastic

Cllr Spike Mayhew, Uckfield town mayor, said: “Citizens Advice do a fantastic job of helping people with advice and support on all kinds of issues and make a positive difference to people’s lives.

“We are really keen to do whatever we can to ensure they have a permanent base in the town centre, and we believe this is a move which will benefit the library, Citizens Advice and clients of both.”

Income

The move would enable Citizens Advice to rent underused space in the library, while the income generated can be reinvested in library services.

Citizens Advice would continue to offer the same level of service at present, with no planned changes to opening hours.

Court house

• The building now used as the public library was once the town’s court house.

In July 2008, the Sussex Extensive Urban Survey report was drawn up by Roland Harris and featured an Historic Character Assessment Report of the building.

It said: “A public hall (from 1996 the library) was built in 1877, and this replaced the Maiden’s Head as the location of the petty sessions [court].

“The street-front extension was added in 1907.

“Uckfield had a library by 1867, at which point it held 14,000 volumes.”

See also:

Bluebell Railway sets reopening date

Cranwell Wealth Solutions is open again

Kings Church Uckfield launches online course

Find local businesses in our Uckfield Directory

How to advertise on UckfieldNews.com

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