The doors of a new library and community centre near Battersea’s Northcote Road could be set to open soon as councillors are poised to give plans the green light.

Plans to replace the existing 1960s library in the area with a three-storey modern library, community centre and business suite are set to be backed by members of Wandsworth Councils' Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday night (September 19).

It would be built on land currently occupied by council-owned garages that adjoin Staplehurst Court and the Chatham Hall community space.

The library in Northcote Road is almost 50 years old and described by Wandsworth Council as ‘outdated by modern standards’.

There is said to be limited space for shelving, restricted space for computers on its ground floor, low-quality air ventilation and poor natural light for visitors.

It also has subpar disabled access, little space for prams or buggies and unsuitable toilet and baby changing facilities.

If backed, the plans for the new facility would be subject to further rounds of public consultation. They include 705 square metres of available space for visitors with a new children’s section which is 30sqm larger than the older one, while the general library is around 40sqm larger.

Suggestions include a three-story building that includes a children’s section with a buggy space, self-service kiosks for book loans, study accommodation, learning areas complete with computer software and both coffee and drink shops where customers can read newspapers, magazines and periodicals.

The building will also be a separate community centre that can be used by groups, including nursery use if need be, a business suite on the second floor available for small businesses complete with work spaces and meeting rooms that can be hired out.

The plans for a bigger replacement for Chatham House, which was built in the 1950s, include a modern kitchen and new toilets while the community space will be upgraded from 275sqm to 320sqm.

Currently, there is communication between he council and local groups who use Chatham House in helping them find alternative spaces to use. The council said the ambition would be for space in the new building to be offered to these groups once again when the building works had finished.

The construction costs for the new library would be met by building homes and shops, and also some flats on the Chatham Hall and garages site.

Meanwhile, the current library will remain open to the public until the new one is ready to be opened.

The number of flats in the new library scheme headed by the council has been reduced from nine to seven as a result of a public consultation, to reduce the ‘visual impact on neighbouring properties in Bramfield Road with windows in the new homes positioned to not overlook the gardens nearby.

Proposed balconies for the properties which overhang the passageway between Rainham Close and the garages have also been removed with pedestrian access no longer available from Rainham Close, with people purchasing or renting new homes ineligible for parking permits and ensuring no added pressure on local parking provision.

On the current library site in Northcote Road, nine flats are now proposed along with two shop units.

Councillor Jonathan Cook, cabinet member for community services, said: “The current library was built in 1969 and by today’s standards, is terribly inefficient in its layout and use of space.

“We’ve looked into whether or not it could be refurbished to bring it up to modern standards but this would be prohibitively expensive and would still leave a small, cramped building with sub-standard amenities and there is no budget available to pay for such a project.

“The community space at Chatham Hall is also contained within an ageing building that will soon need upgrading. Our proposals would see it completely revamped, with a much bigger main hall alongside upgraded kitchen facilities and new toilets.

“For those groups that currently use the hall we are committed to doing all we can to help them find alternative accommodation while building work is underway.

“This is a sensible and cost effective use of the council’s property portfolio. It means providing much needed new homes for Londoners plus a modern new library and community centre at minimal cost to local tax payers.

“At a time when many councils in London and elsewhere are closing down libraries and curtailing services to save money we are looking to expand and improve our provision to give our residents a bigger and better Northcote library that’s fit for the 21st century.”