PLANS to give Salisbury a “bigger, permanent” library are currently being tabled, one of Wiltshire Council’s top members has confirmed.

Speaking at Salisbury City Council’s planning meeting last week, Councillor Pauline Church, cabinet member for South Wiltshire Recovery, said that the county authority had “large aspirations” to give the city a proper home for its well-used library.

However, she did admit that a timescale had yet to be agreed, as it was part of “ongoing policy plans” by the leading Conservatives.

It comes as revised proposals for the first phase of the redevelopment of the Maltings site were supported by city members last week.

They include a temporary home for the current library at the former British Heart Foundation site.

However, speaking at the meeting in the Guildhall, members of the planning committee expressed their concerns at confusion surrounding whether the Maltings library site will be temporary or permanent.

Labour member Ian Tomes said: “I do not like the fact that we are still confused about whether it will be temporary.”

Sitting in the public gallery, Cllr Church looked to quash those worries.

She said: “This plan for the library is still seen as a temporary setting.

“We have large aspirations for a bigger, permanent library in the city.”

As reported, changes for the site of 30-36 Fisherton Street were unveiled earlier this month by developer Haskoll.

They include more vertical facades, a brand new look, redesigned layout, as well as better signage and lighting.

The architects say their aim is “to create a fresh contemporary building that points the way forward for Salisbury”.

A two-storey civic-style atrium to the library entrance, and a new café space and public plaza are also included in the plans, as well as the originally proposed 86-room hotel.

Speaking to the Journal following the meeting, Cllr Church added: “When the library moves from Market Walk, there is an aspiration for a much improved facility than is currently on offer, such as greater community access and improved use of space in a modern facility. It is recognised that libraries benefit communities with a wider cultural, educational and wellbeing provision and we aspire to continue to provide our standard suite of services and a place to socialise, relax with a coffee and perhaps learn a new skill.

“The council’s library strategy for Salisbury is working in collaboration with Salisbury’s Cultural Strategy which is currently in progress. Until the output of that consultative piece of work is complete, and plans are drawn up, no definite decision will be made in relation to the final location of the library. In the meantime, I maintain my aspiration for us to provide an improved library of which the city can be proud.”