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Reuse old buildings for affordable homes: Carnegie Library, Coatbridge

The former Carnegie Library in the centre of Coatbridge was built in 1905 – an excellent example of the Beaux Arts architecture, and a much loved B-listed building used by generations of local residents. The building was really important to the town, historically and culturally. So when the library was relocated to a new building in 2010, the Council worked with Clyde Valley Housing Association to redevelop it for twelve affordable homes.

Funding for the £2.5m project was provided by Scottish Government, Historic Environment Scotland, the council and the housing association. From the outset, the objectives combined historic conservation, town centre regeneration and much-needed affordable housing.

The project won a Scottish Award for Quality in Planning in 2018. The judges commented: “From the starting point of a derelict building - the transformation of the library into new, affordable, homes as well as its revived impact on the surrounding place - was self-evident to the judges. The project illustrated a careful but bold preservation, of a once cherished public building, into a modern, clean and attractive place to live. The new homes were also complimented by a simple but elegant landscaped garden. Plus, the project is in line with the [Scottish] Government’s Town Centre First Principle by encouraging, and providing the opportunities, for people to live back in town centres.”

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