UPDATED: Still no date for full re-opening of Leighton Buzzard Library after flooding ‘fiasco’

Leighton Buzzard Library
Leighton Buzzard Library

There is still no date in sight for the full reopening of Leighton Buzzard Library three months after it was hit by the first of two flooding incidents.

The Lake Street building was closed twice within the space of a fortnight during December due to flooding caused by leaks in recently installed pipework.

The ground floor of the Lake Street building was badly affected by the second incident, with the children’s library and adult fiction and non-fiction areas worst hit.

Since January 2 a basic library service has been offered from the first floor, with the theatre operating as normal.

A Central Bedfordshire Council spokesman told the LBO today: “We will be carrying out a moisture check this week to see if the floor has dried out sufficiently to lay new carpet, while works to soil pipes still need to be carried out, but we don’t yet have a date when the ground floor of the library will re-open.

“We will continue with current arrangements until further notice. The staff are working really hard at the library to offer a lending serice, access to computers, study space and activities on the first floor of the library.

“While the lending service is inevitably reduced with the ground floor being unavailable, we are still endeavouring to offer as wide a range of books as possible by ensuring that stock is rotated regularly.”

One library user described the situation as a “fiasco” and said: “I wish to know if the council has claimed costs for the disruption and have established how this sad state of affairs was allowed to occur. I wish to know if our rates money is being spent wisely and whether the contractor is likely to be used again.”

He added: “Was the work undertaken to a satisfactory standard? Was the contractor paid before the work was checked as satisfactory? Was the same contractor involved in the first set of repairs and why was the library flooded a second time?”

The Central Bedfordshire Council spokesperson added: “We are very disappointed by the ongoing issues within Leighton Buzzard Library. The most recent leak arose from the failure of a single joint and the cause of the failure is currently being investigated. The joint has been replaced and the system pressure tested and re-commissioned.

“If the fault is directly attributable to workmanship or faulty fittings we will address this with the contractor or manufacturer accordingly and would seek compensation for all costs incurred and loss of service.”