Decision details

Kettering Library Roof Replacement Capital Project

Decision Maker: Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


Capital investment for Phase One of the roof replacement project






That the Executive:


a)      Recommended to Council the approval of the budget of £6,807,000 to be added to the Capital Programme to fulfil the Executive’s longstanding commitment to replace the Kettering Library roof and to commit to repair the roof of the Art Gallery.


b)      Delegated authority to the Executive Member for Sport, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, in consultation with the Director of Public Health and the Director of Place and Economy, to procure the necessary works to replace the Kettering Library roof and undertake any actions required to deliver the project within the approved financial envelope



Reasons for Recommendations:


·        The library building is Grade II listed and it is the responsibility of the Council as the owner to maintain it. Further, the Council has various statutory enforcement powers to require the owners of listed buildings to keep listed buildings in a good state of repair. It is therefore important that the Council demonstratesits preparedness to tackle the condition of listed buildings.

·        If the building is not made watertight as soon as practicable there is a risk that further water ingress will compromise the structure of the building and cause damage to the internal fabric, library stock and equipment.

·        To enable the Council to continue to deliver its full statutory library functions within Kettering town centre.

·        Over the weekend 13th/14th October 2023 further heavy rain caused the ceiling to collapse in a section to the right of the side doors of the library. This resulted in the library having to close whilst urgent remedial works and a clear up are undertaken and assessment is made as to the safety risks in re-opening the library to staff and the public. The frequency and likelihood of this re-occurring increases whilst the building remains exposed to the elements with the roof in the condition it is in. Options are now having to be considered to relocate the library until the building is watertight.

·        Cornerstone cannot open in its entirety until the building is watertight, due to water ingress into the new space on the ground floor, where the old roof meets the new. Inability to fully open Cornerstone compromises the Council’s ability to comply with the funding agreement in place with SEMLEP and exposes the Council to a risk that some of this funding will be clawed-back. The Council submits twice yearly monitoring reports to SEMLEP and so they are aware of the current challenges and have been supportive to date but want to see Cornerstone fully open as soon as practicable.

·        The Gallery has a revenue cost to the Council and the intention, should Cornerstone be open, is for the new spaces to generate an income that will offset some of these costs.

·        Whilst Cornerstone remains closed the Gallery Collection is not accessible to the public.


Alternative Options Considered:


·       Not undertaking the work to replace the library roof

This would result in the permanent closure of the library building and the need to permanently relocate it to another town centre location. Even if such a location, with the right footprint, could be found the cost of the relocation would be increased due to the need to connect any new space with the former County Council IT network, on which the library management systems operate.


Even if the library could be relocated the Council would still be left with a Grade II Listed Building in need of repair and it could prevent the opening of Cornerstone as originally intended. This would risk SEMLEP clawing back some or all of the funding committed to the Cornerstone development.


·       Not using Collyweston Slate

This has been discussed at length with the Conservation Officer on more than one occasion and advice has also been sought from Historic England, as listed building consent would be required, and using an alternative slate on this roof is not an option.


·       Not tenting the building while the roof is replaced.

Despite the cost being higher for the option to tent the building, it is the preferred option for the following reasons:


  • It is the much less risky option in terms of NNC’s control over the programme of activity and ability to mitigate unknown risks. The timeline for replacement without tenting is much more weather dependent.
  • It protects the internal fabric of the building including those renovations already complete and the new extension.
  • It protects the internal contents of the buildings.
  • Without the tent, once the slates and felting are removed, even in sections, the timbers will be exposed, there will be a risk of further damage through increased water
  • If the Council were to open Cornerstone without a tent, there is a risk of further leaks, if water ingress from the library roof worsens.
  • Tenting will allow for Cornerstone to fully open sooner, if deemed safe to do so, and to start to attract an income to offset the annual revenue cost to the Council.
  • Once tented, if there are unforeseen delays to the roof replacement phase of the project, these will not compromise the operation of the Library and Cornerstone as they will be protected.



Publication date: 16/11/2023

Date of decision: 16/11/2023

Decided at meeting: 16/11/2023 - Executive

Effective from: 24/11/2023

Accompanying Documents: