SWINDON’S acclaimed Central Library opened nine years ago, but two decades earlier the notion of using the site had been dismissed as impracticable.

In February of 1989, Wiltshire County Council undertook a study of potential solutions to the lack of a permanent central library.

A copy of the report was sent to the Adver and survives.

The lending library had been housed in ugly wooden huts erected in 1976 to replace a previous temporary structure, and the reference library occupied part of the Town Hall.

The 1988 report includes a drawing the rather bland four-storey building which would have been attached to the Town Hall from the early 1990s had the go-ahead been given.

The authors of the report rejected the option as too expensive to construct and manage, and the integration of the Victorian Town Hall into a new library as too complex.

They also noted: “The Town Hall is a dominant building of great individual character. To construct a larger adjoining building poses certain visual problems.”

The report considered three other library options, all of which involved completely obliterating a different Victorian structure.

The former Sanford Street School in College Street, then occupied by the area offices of the county council’s education department, would have made way for a new building, again of four storeys.

Construction was priced at around £6m, with three versions considered. All would have spread the library over two floors, with the remainder given over to other uses such as council offices.

One plan would have included a basement car park for 54 cars, and the authors of the report rejected this idea because of added expense and fire risk.

Another idea floated was of having the library occupy the two middle floors of the new building, with offices above and a shopping arcade at ground level linked to the main town centre shopping area.

This was also dismissed, mostly because of the likely chaos caused by delivery lorries.

The authors decided the best option was a simple combination of library and offices, with no basement.

It seems that none of the options they listed found favour among councillors, as the temporary library was in place for almost another two decades.