Long-running plans to relocate Beckenham Library to the nearby public hall have been shelved, after a report revealed nearly £1m worth of work would have to be done to bring the hall up to scratch.

Abandoning the move – which would also torpedo plans to build up to 46 new homes on the current library site – was discussed for the first time at a meeting of Bromley’s renewal, recreation and housing scrutiny committee.

Chair of the committee, Cllr Michael Rutherford, said reports prepared by consultants showed the work which would need to be done to the grade-II listed Victorian building was much more than expected.

“Consultants have detailed that the level of works required is greater than originally anticipated – while they consider the physical location more appropriate…the costs of work required is greater than thought,” he told council.

According to one report seen by councillors, the combined cost to address the backlog and future maintenance costs at the public hall would total £971,320 – of which more than half was deemed ‘urgent’.

News Shopper: Beckenham Library will remain in its current spot - for now - if the plans are scrapped. Beckenham Library will remain in its current spot - for now - if the plans are scrapped.

The news to scrap the scheme was met with mixed comments from councillors.

Cllr Alexa Michael, who chairs the authority’s planning board, said some action would still have to be taken regarding Beckenham Library, which is itself in an old building.

“I accept the cost of refurbishing and renovating Beckenham Public Hall would outweigh the benefit but I also believe doing nothing for the existing library long-term is not an option,” she said.

Labour councillor Josh King accused Bromley Council of “neglect” of the public hall, saying the hefty bill to fix it came after “not spending money on repairs over a long period”.

Bromley Council looks likely to instead pursue plans to lease out the Beckenham Public Hall, while the library will remain in its current place.

It means a scheme to build 46 new homes on the site of the current library – half of which were predicted to be desperately-needed affordable ones – will be scrapped as well.

Portfolio holder for renewal, recreation and housing Peter Morgan said last year relocating the library would be pursued “only if a new library could be properly accommodated in the public hall”.

Following the report, he told this week’s meeting he backed the move to lease the hall instead of selling it off completely.

Cllr Morgan said if they sold the hall freehold, the authority would “lose control of the building” – by leasing it out, they could ensure it would still get some “community use”.

Cllr Rutherford said leasing the hall wasn’t “the whole answer” and didn’t address the library or affordable housing aspects of the plan – himself backing a plan for a future report on the maintenance and upkeep of the library.

The committee’s comments will now be forwarded on to a future meeting of executive councillors, who will have a final vote on the proposal.