Northampton

Wootton Fields library move to cost more than £300,000

A community library move is to cost Northamptonshire County Council more than £300,000 because of a 25-year private finance initiative (PFI) deal.

The cost is for cancelling the PFI loan contract for Wootton Fields Library at Caroline Chisholm school.

A loan was taken out as part of a deal for the school in 2004 by the authority which was then run by Labour.

The current Conservative cabinet has cancelled the contract because it could no longer afford the running costs.

A cabinet report with details of the new arrangements will be discussed at a meeting on 13 November.

'Higher saving'

The council said it was expecting a cancellation fee of £273,000 and a further cost of £65,000 to set up and move the library to its new location.

It was moved temporarily to Wootton Community centre half mile away on 27 October while the council looked for a permanent site in the area.

Cancelling the contract could save up to £1.5m over the next 17 years, which would have been the remaining loan term, the council said.

Councillor Heather Smith, cabinet member for customer and community services, said: "We knew that we would save at least £1m but the final figures are showing a higher saving.

"The library was moved out of the school during the half-term to minimise any disruption and we are now in the process of setting up its new home at Wootton Community Centre."

It is estimated the relocation will be for two to three years. The county authority is currently talking to the parish council to find another building.

The new library is expected to open on 27 November.

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