A BIGGER space is to be given to the temporary site for Salisbury Library after initial plans caused outrage, it has been revealed.

Salisbury Area Board was told Wiltshire Council had been working closely with the developer’s architects to respond to the comments about the design as well as the library service regarding its needs.

Richard Walters, the council’s project manager for the Maltings development, said the space initially proposed for the library was “insufficient for its full operational needs”. He told the meeting the council had agreed to take a larger floor space.

The initial planning application for a Travelodge hotel, new library, gym and restaurant in a block on Fisherton Street and Malthouse Lane, which was formerly the British Heart Foundation furniture store and the Original Factory Shop, was submitted in December by developer TH Real Estate.

But it was not until an area board meeting in January that it was revealed it was only a “decant” site and “not the final site” for the library.

The plans sparked protests held by Salisbury Labour Party.

Mr Walters said the original space of about 5,983 sq ft had been increased to a “shade over 9,000 square feet” and was larger than the ground floor of the existing library.

Councillor Brian Dalton said the last application involving the library had been “submitted in haste”, adding: “You are not going to get the same services in something 30 per cent the size we have got now.

“If we had a failing library service then I guess we wouldn’t mind if it was improved but we don’t have a failing library service here we have the second busiest in the South West. That tells me if it aint broke, don’t fix it.”

To get the extra space, a food and beverage unit on the corner of Priory Square and Malthouse Lane - as well as a corridor between it, had been removed.

A member of the public said: “What guarantee have the people of Salisbury got that there will be a permanent library. That was the issue when we did the petition that frankly nobody believed there would be a new, permanent library.”

Mr Walters said the plans were to enable “continuity” of library provision, adding that the temporary site was to deliver the existing services for as “long as required in order for a new flagship library to come forward”.

“Frankly, it will be significantly better in terms of the quality of the space and facilities that are there at the moment.” he said.

“I know there is a passionate desire to keep the existing library but the existing library is full of asbestos.”

The revised plans are due to be resubmitted alongside the masterplan for the wider Maltings development. A public consultation is due to start on April 15 and run until May 24.

A consultation event is currently being planned for April 23 but details are still to be confirmed.

It is hoped both plans would then be considered by Wiltshire Council’s planning committee in June.