Recently Essex County Council held an online session on the future of Essex Libraries; you can find a report on it here. It appears that “sustainability” was among the objectives mentioned.
there was no justification for about the most unsustainable thing the
Council plans to do, which is to demolish and rebuild the Loughton
Library building - how many decades will it take to reclaim the waste
of resources and carbon bill for this?
10 September 2021 County Council plans for our Libraries Two
online sessions are taking place on Monday September 20th for residents
to discuss their views and ideas on the library service. The Council
will outline ideas for key principles to help guide the service and its
future development - residents will be able to discuss these, as well
as make suggestions and offer feedback. The Council say that their
ambition is to enhance and upgrade the library service and ensure it
reflects the needs of local communities. All libraries in Essex will
remain open and opportunities for training and upskilling libraries
staff will be a key priority.
comment: the County Council are well underway with their appalling plan
to replace Loughton Library with a five-storey block; if you’re unhappy
with this, we suggest you join one of these sessions and let them know
13 August 2021
County Council’s public consultation ended on August 1st. We hope an
alternative plan for the Library, including retention of the existing
building instead of its demolition, will be worked up in the next week
or so. There is of course no guarantee that the County Council will be
20 July 2021 There is now a public consultation. You can find this, and the detailed plans here. There are also exhibition events at the Library on Thursday July 22nd and Saturday July 24th. More
design of the new Library brings it all onto the ground floor (on two
floors at present) and preserves the current level of stock (books,
CDs, etc) in 80% of the current space, plus a new outdoor area which
can be used in connection with the Library by schools etc in fine
weather. However, this still represents a very significant reduction in
book stock held locally compared with that of, say, ten years ago.
County Council wants to put 38 flats on four floors on top of the
ground-floor library in order to raise the money to pay for the
development. Five storeys seems to LRA’s Plans Group (LRAPG) to be
wholly out-of-character with its surroundings (the Traps Hill car park,
the cricket field and the bowls club ground, an area which used be
designated as “Urban Open Space”). There would be no encroachment onto
the public car park, but the parking area for library staff and
visitors would be lost, without replacement.
The new building
would be close to the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation
(EFSAC), and the extra basement parking for residents would in LRAPG’s
view be in breach of the legal requirements on air quality for the
EFSAC. The Town Council and the National Jazz Archive would have the
same amount of space in the new building as they have now. The Citizens
Advice Bureau (CAB) would not return to the new building as they
changed over to giving advice over the phone during Covid (they have
found that this works well and means that their advisers can work from
home. Anyone needing face-to-face advice will have to go to their
The County Council own the site. The development
would be done by Essex Homes Ltd, a company owned by the County
Council. The Council would finance the construction of the building
with a cheap loan from the Public Works Loan Board. It would then get
income from leasehold sales of the flats and then ground rents from
There will be a formal planning application in the autumn.
This will be considered by the County Council’s planning committee. At
that stage, LRA Plans Group will strongly oppose the development on its
design, loss of library facilities and threat to the air quality in the
All this has nothing to do with the District
Council, except they have aided and abetted it by putting it into the
draft Local Plan as a development site (with a capacity of about 20
homes). There is now a public consultation on the 'Main Modifications'
to the Plan (more in our next regular news email), and the LRA Plans
Group will press the Inspector either to remove the site and/or reduce
What you can do Please let the County Council know what you think of the proposal. The consulation ends August 1st.
the consultation website there is a feedback form for your comments. If
you agree with all or any of the LRA Plans Group comments include them
in your feedback. You can also email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or by free post (scroll down the page).
The development is actually five storeys - four storeys plus a penthouse.
2 July 2021
County Council is about to consult residents about their plans to
demolish the Traps Hill library and replace it with a four-storey block
with lots of flats on the upper floors over a smaller library. Starting
next week, they’re arranging for leaflets to be delivered to local
households, with a structured questionnaire. This application
will not be decided by the District Council, but by a
Conservative-dominated development committee in Chelmsford, but the
Town and District Councils are able to comment on the proposals.
On Monday July 12th
there will be an online public meeting with Essex County Cllrs,
architects and the Essex Housing Team. There will be face to face
public exhibition events on Thursday July 22nd (afternoon and evening)
and on the morning of Saturday July 24th. Details should be in the
LRA Plans Group
comment: the council say that one reason for the redevelopment is the
poor state of the current building’s roof; this appears to be the
result of the Council’s past neglect. However, these plans would
produce a smaller and poorer library in a building wholly out of
character in its surroundings, and the residents’ vehicles would
contribute to air pollution in the Epping Forest Special Area of
Conservation, which would be in breach of the relevant legislation.
you can do: please consider your views on this carefully, and reply to
the County Council. If you agree with all or any of the LRA Plans Group
comments include them in your reply (if the Council’s questionnaire
doesn’t allow you to express your views in full, please reply by email
or free post). Please copy your comments to us at applications@LoughtonResidents.co.uk and to the Town Council (email@example.com) and the District Council (firstname.lastname@example.org).
11 June 2021
understand the much-delayed consultation on this project to demolish
Loughton Library and provide a smaller library under a block of flats
will take place in July.
Please be ready to give your views!
21 May 2021
Library is planned to be demolished and replaced by a much smaller
library and no doubt a very big block of flats. How big, the County
Council won't say. From what we heard on the doorsteps, there will be a
huge outcry on this, and they are intending to do a postal
11 April 2021 LRA
Cllr Chris Pond has been asking the County Council some searching
questions about their proposals [LRA comments in brackets]:
Why won't the County Council say how tall these flats will be? [It can only be because they want to increase the density and hence the height.]
Why aren't these flats to be affordable or social housing?
are the County Council persisting with this scheme in the knowledge
it's very near the Epping Forest Special Area for Conservation?
Why are the new library and all the tenants being crammed in the ground floor?
They say £450,000 needs to be spent on the roof of the present building. [Why have they not maintained it adequately in recent years? It's only 45 years old.]
Why have all the remaining books (many have been discarded) been moved downstairs during lockdown?
Why has the lift been allowed to go out of use?
Why, when we need to discourage car use, has a garage floor been factored in?
Council have now announced that they are putting back their planned
public consultation on the redevelopment until after the election.
LRA comment: we think the whole proposal is misguided and we will continue to press for proper answers to these questions.
13 March 2021
County Council is proposing to demolish the existing library building
on Traps Hill and to replace it with flats and a smaller library. The
site is in the draft District Local Plan for redevelopment to give a
smaller library, with (at the moment) 20 flats above. However, LRA Cllr
Chris Pond suspects that the County Council wants to build higher than
the expected three storeys, with a garage floor below, as their
rebuilding budget of almost £12.4m would otherwise imply a cost per
flat of at least £600,000. The County Council is refusing to reveal its
The site is only four minutes’ walk from the Epping
Forest Special Area of Conservation (EFSAC), and LRA believes that any
development here would adversely affect the EFSAC. In addition,
anything over 3 storeys would be wholly out-of-character with its
surroundings, at a time when the Government is emphasising the need for
new developments to reflect “the character of each place and local
If the scheme goes ahead, Chris says that a
larger vacant High Road retail unit, such as the former Clinton Cards
and New Look stores, would be a "good possibility for a decamp" while
any building work was taking place at Traps Hill for about a year.
Chris thinks that these District Council owned units could also provide
enough temporary space for the library and the Citizens Advice Bureau.
The National Jazz Archive will also need relocating.
30 August 2019
Loughton Library is under threat of demolition
and replacement by a smaller library under a block of flats.
The County Council plans to spend
almost £800,000 to demolish the library and replace it with 27 new
apartments for either sale or rent, along with a new library.
As reported in the Epping Forest Guardian, LRA Cllr Chris Pond said that the
development, just a short walk from the Epping Forest Special Area of
Conservation (SAC), will add extra pressure on the wildlife that exists
He added a European Court of Justice
judgement protecting special areas of conservation against development
needed to be taken into account, and that replacing the library with
homes would harm Epping Forest wildlife.
Cllr Pond called in the plan at a
recent County Council Committee Meeting (read the details - item 7), however this was rejected on party
lines by the Conservative controlled council. Much will now depend on
the inspector's report on the Local Plan on safeguarding the SAC (read the latest here), as this would be 27 extra dwellings, each
with people, dogs and cycles etc within a four minute walk of the SAC.
Separately, the Town Council Planning
& Licensing Committee agreed to register Loughton Library and
Town Hall as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ with the District Council,
and will let Essex County Council know they're doing so.