Kirkbymoorside’s historic Old Library boasts a new name, a new look and can look forward to a bright future, thanks to an £80,000 revamp.
And the building on Church Street, now re-named The Moorside Room, has been given the seal of approval by the community after curious members of the public paid a visit after its official opening last week.
“Everybody really likes it,” said Cllr Chris Dowie, the Mayor of Kirkbymoorside. “As they walked through the door, a great smile came on their faces. To have that response was just so good. I also like how the name, ‘The Moorside Room,’ makes it seem as it belongs even more to everyone in the town.”
She added: “We feel we now have a building that the town can be proud of and will be used for many years to come in whichever way the community wish to use it.”
The opening of The Moorside Room brings a curtain down on a controversial period in Kirkbymoorside’s recent history when members of the then town council came under fire for seeking to spend £175,000 - most of which would have been borrowed over a 20-year period - on the building to create a meeting space for the authority, toilets and office for the town clerk.
The dispute over the costs led to a number of resignations from the council, several stormy meetings with the public and an almost wholesale change of the authority at the local elections nearly four years ago.
This revised development, designed by local architect John Paul and built by project manager Paul Buffoni, of Buffoni Hemmingfield, cost just under £80,000, of which half was provided by North Yorkshire County Council and £20,000 will be given by Ryedale District Council - leaving the remaining money to come from Kirkbymoorside’s reserves.
It will now be used to hold meetings and host community events, such as coffee mornings and yoga classes, while its naturally airy interior - complemented by a historic half-moon window - also lends itself to art and photography exhibitions.
Describing it as a “bargain” for the people of Kirkbymoorside, Cllr Dowie was also quick to praise her fellow councillors, the architect and builders who all came together to create the new-look building.
“Everybody had a vision,” she said. “The architect had his vision, the councillors had their vision as did the builder, and it has all come out great.
“I feel that if this was the only thing that the current council had achieved in our four years together, I would have been happy.”
She quickly added: “It isn’t the only thing we have achieved, but it is so gratifying to see it finished and open.”