BUILDING experts who are to carry out a structural survey of Huddersfield's library and art gallery should return with their findings in about eight weeks' time.
Their report, including projected repair bills for the imposing 1930s building, will then be given to consultants commissioned to look at the feasibility of a wholesale redevelopment of The Piazza area.
Yesterday, in a Huddersfield Town Hall meeting room overlooking the very building under discussion, members of the public and Kirklees Council's Overview and Scrutiny Panel for Culture and Leisure discussed ways of safeguarding the library's future.
The steel frame of the 70-year-old library is slowly corroding.
The structural experts from White, Young and Green commissioned last week will only be able to determine the true extent of the rust problem when they complete their intrusive survey.
The firm has been appointed by Kirklees Council to list the priority works needed over the next five years as well as estimating how much it would cost to make the building sound over 25- and 50-year periods.
"People should be confident they are going to get proper information about the condition of the building," said Mr Ken Gillespie, director of regeneration for Kirklees Council, told the meeting.
Once the findings are published, the matter will be opened up to public consultation to see what the community wants to happen to the building.
Six options have been tabled ranging from repairing and extending the current library to replacing it in the wide-ranging renaissance of The Piazza.
Kirklees Cabinet have the final say over any decision.
The scrutiny committee once again examined the building on Monday.
Rain, combined with moisture retention inside the building, has attacked the library's metal framework.
Councillors will next year visit similar buildings in Burnley and Blackburn which also incorporate steel frames.
Scarborough library dates from the 1930s and has been successfully renovated.
Moves are under way to have Huddersfield library listed. It is said to be one of the finest examples of 1930s architecture in the UK.
If that is successful, 1997 plans for work funded by Heritage Lottery funding could be resurrected.
Members of the public yesterday suggested a number of solutions to safeguard the building, including processes for renewing the steel frame commonly used by the ship-building industry and re-roofing the structure with a breathable material.
White Young Green, who have offices around the country, are a major force in building renovations.
They have worked on many notable schemes including the revamp of Leeds City Station and The Light, a £45m leisure and retail development in Leeds.
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