COULD an old library complex in the county town be listed through a community led movement?

Five/six Dew Street, Haverfordwest, is where the former county library stands.

The building is noted as a cornerstone of Upper High Street, renowned for its brutalist, abstract modernist design, yet it stands unused and abandoned.  

With ongoing negotiations to sell the old library site by its owner Pembrokeshire County Council, there are concerns the building may not be there much longer.

However a local community group wants the building listed to protect it.

If the county library meets the listing criteria - of historical or architectural – it could be protected from the bulldozers, with builders requiring special permission to make any changes to the site.

One of the movement’s organisers, Sue McKeeman, wrote on Facebook: “Moves are afoot by local residents to look at options for the old library, including listing.

“It stands as an iconic 60s building, with a design that functioned well.

"The circular exhibition area was well used in its time and could still usefully serve the top end of town if reopened.”

Western Telegraph: The old library now abandoned. Photo Sue McKeemanThe old library now abandoned. Photo Sue McKeeman

The idea has garnered a response on Facebook, with people commenting they want to see a new lease of life given to the building, which they describe as ‘cherished’.

Local architect and member of the Royal Institute of British Architects Mike Daffern has put together a paper on reasons for listing the building.

In his paper Mr Daffern describes the library site as a fine example of a mid-60s civic building, with features and merits well worth preserving on the grounds of both architectural merit, and historic significance.

Western Telegraph: The unusual architecture of the building. Photo Sue McKeemanThe unusual architecture of the building. Photo Sue McKeeman

In part of his paper Mr Daffern quotes senior buildings investigator at Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales Sue Fielding, who explains why the building is of historic interest.

“What’s important about the library building in Haverfordwest is what it represents,” says Ms Fielding.

"Aand what it represents within the context of 20th century history is the post war passion to build a new better nation. Understanding that as a society is vital.”

Mr Daffern also goes into detail about the current state of the building referring to a survey carried out in 2021 by iDea Architects which stated the building remains in ‘reasonable condition’ but pointed out a series of issues, including a series of leaks in the roof and the mention of asbestos.

Pembrokeshire County Council has been contacted about the future of the library building.

What do you think? Should the library building stay or should it go? Let us know in the comments below.