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New plans for Kirkwall’s old library to go to planning committee

Kirkwall's old library
The owner of Kirkwall's old library says he's once again looking at commercial uses for the building. Andrew Stewart/DC Thomson

Plans to convert the listed Kirkwall library into homes will go to a vote after officials recommended refusal.

A proposed conversion of Kirkwall’s old Carnegie library and part of the adjoined Sound Archive into 10 houses and four flats will go to Orkney council’s planning committee.

However, due to an objections from roads services, council officers have recommended that the committee turn down planning permission.

The library, at 8 Laing Street, was most recently used as the home for Grooves Records shop and a gallery. However the business moved out last year, leaving the building empty.

While the interior of the building would see a drastic change under the proposals, the character and appearance of the listed building would stay the same.

Plans to create residential units in the old library will go to the planning committee this week.

The plans, put forward by local businessman Neil Stevenson, would also see the music venue section of Archive Coffee, next door to the library, walled off and converted into residential units.

However, the council’s roads services have taken issue with the Kirkwall library development over the lack of parking. With no parking featuring in the plans, roads services have said it would make the area’s parking problems even worse.

The department has said, with plans for 14 residential units, there should be an equal number of parking spaces provided.

Despite this guidance from officers, the council decided not to use delegated powers to refuse the application outright. Instead, the decision will fall to the planning committee.

The meeting of Orkney Islands Council’s planning committee will take place on Wednesday from 9.30am.

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