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Opinion : SEVEN years after closing no use has been found for the old library in Queen Victoria Road

| September 1, 2015


In my opinion one of the worst disasters to happen in Wycombe occurred at 4.00pm on Saturday 19th April 2008.

This was the moment that the magnificent library in Queen Victoria Road closed its doors for the final time before operations transferred to the new library in the shopping complex in June of the same year.

Since the doors closed the old library building has laid unused with the doors firmly closed. What a tragedy that a use has not been found for such an impressive building.

A few lunchtimes ago your humble servant passed by the old library, pausing for a while to look at the sorry state the building has fallen into.

Weeds now grow in front of the main entrance where once there were beautiful flowers. The paint on the magnificent proper wooden windows is starting to peel giving rot a chance to gain hold.


Around the back of the magnificent building its an even sorrier sight. Plants and weeds are growing in the guttering, some of them are even in flower.


Even more worrying is the fact that, at the point where it meets the earth, the lightning conductor running down from the very tip of the roof is worryingly misshapen bringing into question whether or not the building would survive a lightning strike.


Just imagine the tragedy that would befall Wycombe if the old library was struck by lightning, and due to a failure of the lightning conductor rod, a fire started which spread to the magnificent oak room and town hall next door.

Only in High Wycombe could such a wonderful building be allowed to fall into such disrepair.

By the time a use is found for the structure I fear the window frames will be beyond repair and no-doubt they will be ripped out and replaced with the modern plastic rubbish that has ruined so many of the towns buildings.

While the Former Town Hall, next door, is afforded listed status sadly the old library is not. What a shame. Without being listed the building is a developers paradise ready to be ransacked and used for any purpose they can get past the town planners.

When used as a library the building was owned by the County Council however they came to a decision to dispose of the building in 2011. I have no idea if the disposal actually occurred but everyone can see how the once lovely building has been abandoned.

Surely this building could be put to a good use to benefit the community?

Perhaps as an art gallery? A music venue? An exhibition centre? Or even as a covered market area?

Before anything further happens I feel an application should be made to afford the old library building listed status so the developers do no ruin the overall structure.

The old library building has come to signify all that is wrong with the town of Wycombe. Despite being located in a busy thoroughfare the doors have remain locked for over SEVEN years.

To make matters worse the old library is the first thing that visitors see when they leave the Council Offices located on the other side of the road. Is a locked up and rotting building really the ideal vista when exiting the offices of a District Council? I think not.

Let’s face it, not much thought was put into things when the shopping complex opened in 2008 and the library moved.

Sadly over the years the powers that be have rushed into so many schemes without considering the consequences or the future. Right opposite their own offices in Queen Victoria Road they have a reminder of what happens when plans are not thought out .

Let’s hope the old library building can be put to a good use soon.

What do you think?

*My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

You can also follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ivor.wycombe or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Ivor_Wycombe.

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