LIBRARY space at Powys County Council’s £14 million cultural hub in Brecon, Y Gaer, has been reduced.

The fact was revealed at a stakeholder meeting for the project which is due to open before Christmas.

Brecon’s Y Gaer (Welsh for Fortress) cultural hub is the redevelopment of the Grade II* listed Shire Hall and construction of a new modern library.

The project has been delayed for months and was supposed to have opened last year and then on March 1 this year.

Costs have ballooned to £14.2 million, which is over £5 million more than expected.

Brecon St John county councillor and Labour Group, Cllr Mathew Dorrance leader has written to Council Leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris  (Independent Llangynidr) with his concerns and wants another public meeting to discuss the issues.

Cllr Dorrance said: “We were informed that the library space in the new development has reduced by 24 per-cent.

“This is a significant reduction in service space and I am extremely concerned about the impact it will have on provision and the quality of the experience available to people in Brecon.

“It is absolutely clear to me that that this decision will hit children and young people and those on the lowest incomes hardest.

"I saw the dedicated children’s library empty a wonderful space is now unavailable to young people.

“Instead, the county council has squashed a much reduced children’s section into what would have been the adult/general library.

“The wing (where) our meeting took place in, was supposed to be where the free public access computers were available.

“It was disappointing to see that this has been relocated from its purposely designed space and added into the adult/general library space.

“The council has reneged on what it promised and damaged the library offer in Brecon.”

Cllr Dorrance believes that another public meeting should be held in Brecon to discuss the situation.

Chief Executive Dr Caroline Turner said; “Although the library floor space is being reduced to accommodate future partners, careful design means that the re-configuration will provide excellent delivery of library services.

“The Children’s Library is an important feature, claims that it is being removed are totally wrong, there is no intention of removing this important facility or dedicated study space from the building regardless of future partnership work.”

Cllr Iain McIntosh (Conservative – Yscir) believes that the areas county councillors should stop criticising the project.

Cllr McIntosh: “I hope to see all Brecon councillors getting behind this rather than attacking it.

“With the right support Y Gaer will bring a big boost for Brecon and the surrounding area.”

Brecon’s Ship Street library will close later this month as PCC gears up to open Y Gaer next month.

The library will close on from Monday,  November 11, and open at Y Gaer on December 5.

Services on offer at the library will be maintained in the town at other council buildings during the closure.

Over the summer there have been discussions with Brecon Beacons College, part of the NPTC Group of Colleges, to bring them in as a partner.

The Welsh Government and Heritage Lottery Fund have provided almost £4 million in grant funding for the project.

Fears have been raised that the changes being made by PCC could breach grant conditions and a public meeting was held in August ro discuss the issues.