Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Queen’s Hall plans supported by council

How part of the Queen's Hall could look if redevelopment plans are given the go-ahead

Ards Borough Council has given its support in principle to plans by Libraries NI to redevelop the current Queen’s Hall in Newtownards into a modern library and cultural venue.

The plans are expected to cost in the region of £4 million but no date has been given as to when the work could begin.

Councillor Michelle McIlveen said there was a “clear need” for such a project in the area.

“We do currently have a library in Newtownards but it is insufficient to meet the needs of the 21st century,” Councillor McIlveen said.

“Our existing provision is well past its sell by date and we need facilities that are not only suitable for today but will be sustainable into the future.

“Libraries NI see the development at Queen’s Hall as a priority scheme which provides the council with an opportunity to be part of a partnership project which will lead to significant regeneration in the heart of Newtownards.

“Not only will it provide the town with an attractive, flexible, accessible building with modern library facilities but also a much needed civic space, which will be adaptable for theatre productions, musical evenings and other cultural events.”

Councillor Simon Hamilton said the new library and cultural venue “will not only ensure that people visit the library in the centre of the town throughout the day, but also enhance our night time economy offering with pubs and restaurants benefiting from the events that the new Queen’s Hall will host”.

“The plans are also immensely impressive and will give Newtownards an iconic building in its town centre,” he continued.

“Given the effort put in to this proposal by Libraries NI and now with the backing of Ards Borough Council, I hope that this vision becomes a reality in the not too distant future.”

A spokeswoman for Libraries NI said it is in “discussions with Ards Borough Council regarding the concept of an exciting £4 million Queen's Hall Library and Cultural Centre” at the current Queen's Hall site.

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