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Doors in ACL centre

Clacton Town Centre & Harwich Library

Work has begun to develop a new multi-use community hub in Clacton Town Centre.

The new multi-storey building will sit at the site of the current Clacton Library. The hub will house a brand-new library, local registration services and an Adult Community Learning Centre. It will also include a space for the University of Essex’s new Centre for Coastal Communities.

Essex County Council has contributed £7.9 million for the regeneration. This is in addition to the £3.1 million already allocated from the government’s Levelling Up Fund.

The redevelopment of the site will visually improve the local area. It will create a welcoming environment for people arriving by car or train. It will also give residents a bespoke learning and skills centre, offering accessible opportunities for residents to gain qualifications and local employment.

Earlier this year the council formally committed to delivering the project alongside Tendring District Council. The community hub will kickstart regeneration projects in Clacton as part of the Government’s Levelling Up Partnership and Long-Term Plan for Towns initiatives, bringing millions of pounds of investment into the town.

The council’s Essex Housing team is leading delivery of the project and design team Saunders Architects have been appointed. Later this year a public consultation will be held on the design proposals.

Councillor Lee Scott, Cabinet Member for Planning a Growing Economy, said: “This is a significant project for the council, the town and most importantly, its residents. It is an opportunity to level up a priority area in our county, working in partnership with Tendring District Council and supported by the government.

“The community hub will bring together key services and offers something for everyone in the local area to benefit from.”

Councillor Ivan Henderson, Tendring District Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Regeneration and Tourism, added: “This is a hugely exciting project, which will help to raise aspirations and teach new skills for generations to come, as well as regenerating part of the town centre – part of a wide-range of initiatives to improve quality of life in Clacton.”

Residents will be kept informed on the progress of the works.

Temporary arrangements will be made for Clacton Library users when construction begins. At present the Library remains open.

The Harwich Library is set to undergo significant changes as part of a multi-million pound revamp for Dovercourt.  The project is being delivered by Essex County Council in partnership with Tendring District Council as one of the Dovercourt Capital Regeneration Projects.

The project will see Adult Community Learning (ACL) return to Dovercourt town within a refurbished library, increasing the opportunities for residents to benefit from courses locally.

For further information or for any questions, please contact the project team at They would be happy to assist you with your queries.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is this work being done?

Essex County Council (ECC) supported Tendring District Council (TDC) in the submission of a funding bid to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) in August 2022 for the “Clacton Civic Quarter”. In January 2023, the bid was announced as successful, and ECC are responsible for the delivery of one of the two projects: the creation of the Clacton Hub, which will be a new multi-storey building on the site of the current Clacton Library.

The Hub will house a brand-new library, local registration services and Adult Community Learning Centre.  It will also include a space for the University of Essex’s new Centre for Coastal Communities.  TDC will lead on the neighbouring Carnarvon Terrace scheme, which includes the development of housing and commercial/maker space on the site previously occupied by Carnarvon House, which was demolished in early 2023.

  1. Will the new building be called the Clacton Hub?

Not necessarily.  Clacton Hub is a working title for the project at this stage and at the appropriate time, key stakeholders will be consulted about what the building should officially be called.

  1. We have a perfectly good library already. Why change it?

ECC and TDC are keen to ensure that the provision of learning and skills facilities in the town are fit for purpose, both now and for in the future, and as joined-up as possible to encourage and support the raising of aspirations of local people.  Clacton has been identified by ECC as a priority levelling up locality and capital investment to bring about much needed regeneration of the town is a key part of this strategy.

The buildings that the Library and Adult Community Learning (ACL) currently occupy are old, restrictive in terms of the space available for service delivery, and inefficient to run.  This project will enable us to bring key services under one roof, which will enhance what we can offer residents.  We have also considered the option of refurbishing the existing library but due to its design, the outcome of these surveys concluded that a replacement building was the preferred approach.

  1. Why is all this money being spent on a new library?

ECC is receiving £3.1m from DLUHC as a contribution to this project and the county council will invest a further £7.9m to bring the overall total funding package for the Clacton Hub scheme to £11m.

Essex is home to some of the world’s leading companies with concentrations of high-skill, high-wage jobs as well as two leading universities and cutting-edge skills providers.  However, the benefits and accessibility of these opportunities is unequally felt by residents and places across the County, and particularly in Clacton where high levels of deprivation are experienced by our residents.  This includes a person’s health and life expectancy, the qualifications they have attained and being able to secure meaningful and lasting employment.

The Clacton Hub project aims to create an inclusive and safe environment in which people will be able to thrive as well as develop their curiosity, skills and aspirations.  Additionally, the rejuvenation of this principal gateway into the town is a key part of improving people’s sense of pride in the place where they live, work and study.

  1. When is the library shutting?

The project is at an early stage, so delivery timescales are still in the process of being finalised.  Once a firm date for the library’s closure is known, this will be communicated both internally and externally with sufficient notice for services to prepare for their temporary relocation.  The Library and Registration Services along with ACL are integral members of the project team and will be kept fully informed of developments as things progress, and will also help to shape the relocation when the time comes.

  1. Will there be alternative accommodation while the library is shut? If so, where?

Yes.  ECC fully intends to provide the Library and Registrations Services with alternative accommodation in the vicinity of the town centre whilst construction works are taking place.  We aim to ensure that there is as little disruption to service delivery as possible.

A number of options are being considered by the Property team and these negotiations will progress once the delivery timetable has been confirmed and we know for definite when the temporary service relocation needs to take place.  Once the location has been confirmed, this will be communicated to those directly affected by these plans.

  1. Will opening hours in the temporary library be the same?

The operational details of the temporary library and registration services provision, such as opening hours, will be reviewed and agreed as part of the planning for the relocation, which will occur in the coming months.  Once such details have been confirmed, this will be communicated to those directly affected by these plans.

  1. Will all the current activities be able to run in the temporary library?

As far as is practicably possible, the Library Service intend to run the same activities that are currently held in the Clacton Library.  This requirement will also be a key factor in deciding the best option for where the service will be temporarily relocated to.  We will work with the relevant local partners to ensure minimal disruption to service delivery and the impact on residents who use these services during the construction phase of the project.

  1. Will there be computers to use in the temporary library?

There will be computers available for use in the temporary Library.

  1. Will we be able to print documents?

Yes, printing and photocopying services will be available as per the current arrangement.

  1. When will the new building open?

The project is at an early stage, so delivery timescales are still in the process of being finalised.  Once a firm date for the re-opening of the new building is known, this will be communicated widely to staff, customers and other stakeholders.

  1. Will the new building be smaller or larger than the old one?

Indicative designs for the Hub that were submitted as part of the funding bid in August 2022 suggested that the new building could be up to 4-storeys high.  A design team has recently been appointed following a procurement process led by Essex Housing and they will begin to formulate designs in the coming months, based on the space requirements of the ECC services who will be occupying the building.  The Hub will enable services to utilise this space far more effectively than at present and there will be no reduction to the services offered by the Library.

  1. Will there be more or fewer tables / study spaces / places to sit?

The requirements of the users of all the organisations that will be based in the Hub will be fully taken into account during the design stage of the project.  In addition to the Library and Registration Services, the scheme will see the introduction of ACL and the University of Essex’s Centre for Coastal Communities into the building, so students of these organisations will have access to modern study spaces in designated areas as well as be able to use the main library.  Creation of a welcoming space that sufficiently facilitates learning will be a primary objective of the project.

  1. Will there be any change to the opening hours?

The opening hours of the Library and Registration Services will remain unchanged.  Similarly, the opening hours of the building will support the operational needs of both ACL and the Centre for Coastal Communities.

  1. What additional facilities will be available in the new building?

The design of the new building is currently being developed and both the needs of the services that will occupy the building plus the market demands of the wider community will be taken into account in terms of shaping the facilities that the building will offer.  For instance, it is envisaged that flexible meeting space could be available to hire, providing a much-needed facility to businesses and entrepreneurs in the area.

  1. Will there be any changes to staffing levels as a result of this project?

There are no plans to make any changes to staffing at the Library and Registration Services or ACL.

  1. Is there going to be a café?

The original funding bid includes reference to the possible provision of a café as part of the overall building.  This is subject to market forces and no decision on this has yet been taken.  Other options such as a self-service refreshment facility and the provision of a teaching kitchen as part of ACL’s curriculum are also being considered.  The library’s ability to provide a designated “warm space” for people as part of its core services will not be affected.

  1. Who else is going to be in the building?

The principal occupants of the new building will be Library and Registration Services, ACL and the University of Essex’s Centre for Coastal Communities, as detailed in the original funding bid.  As part of the project implementation, we intend to engage with all partners currently utilising the facilities at the existing buildings (both the Library and ACL) to explore future occupational opportunities.

  1. Will Essex Cares Limited (ECL) be relocated to the Clacton Hub?

Essex Cares Limited currently hire rooms within ACL for their provision in Clacton.  The project team have had some initial consultation with ECL about their potential relocation to the Clacton Hub and what their requirements would be should they wish to pursue this opportunity.

  1. Will the ACL Curriculum be affected by the move?

ACL will remain responsive by looking at the local skills need and will strive to meet these needs within their provision and delivery.  Although the current ACL facilities will not necessarily be mirrored within the new Clacton Hub, it will have high-quality learning rooms and facilities to meet the demands of the local community with their curriculum.

  1. Will ACL delivery be disrupted by the move?

ACL and ECC will work closely together to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum for staff and students, whilst working within academic requirements.

  1. What is the Centre for Coastal Communities?

The University of Essex’s new Centre for Coastal Communities is part of their existing Institute of Public Health and Wellbeing and aims to become a national hub of excellence that champions the potential of coastal communities.  The Centre will be delivering research, innovation and impact to address the challenges coastal communities face and take advantage of the opportunities they offer.  It will also bring access to higher education much closer to Clacton and surrounding communities.  If you would like to know more, the Centre has a website and dedicated email address:



  1. Is the building going to be joined to the building / plot next door?

The adjacent site to the Clacton Hub is being developed by TDC and is referred to as Carnarvon Terrace.  There are currently no plans for the two sites to be physically joined to one another.  However, cohesion of design across the two sites is an important part of the overarching Clacton Civic Quarter programme and ECC will work closely with TDC to ensure that both projects complement one another.

  1. If the Government changes at the next General Election, will the money be taken away? Are we in danger of being saddled with a half-completed project?

TDC as the “accountable body” for the programme have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with DLUHC committing to the full implementation of the programme.  In turn, ECC has entered into a Funding Agreement with TDC committing it to the delivery of the Clacton Hub project, which enables the transfer of the £3.1m to ECC to pay for the project.  In January, ECC’s Member for Planning a Growing Economy approved a decision to commit ECC’s capital contribution to the project (£7.9m).  A change to the Government is recorded on the project’s risk register with the appropriate measures in place to effectively manage this risk and is being regularly monitored accordingly.

  1. How can I input into the design of the new building?

The recently-appointment design team are now in the process of working closely with services to fully understand their operational requirements and the needs of their respective users to feed this into the architectural drawings that will be prepared for public consultation in early Summer 2024 where the opportunity to provide feedback on these proposals will be given.  Once the format and schedule of the public consultation and engagement has been developed and agreed, this will be communicated widely through all partner and stakeholder channels.

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