DISCUSSIONS are still ongoing in a bid to turn Ledbury’s former library, the Barrett Browning Institute, into an ‘arts hub’ for the community, and for young people in particular.

If all goes to plan, the Victorian building at the Bye Street/High Street junction could undergo a two-year long transformation and become a recording studio, performance space and youth cafe.

The building is already used as a youth drop-in centre.

But there is no green light for works to begin, as talks continue between the drop-in centre representatives and the building’s owners, Ledbury Places.

Ledbury’s ecumenical priest, Tony Hodder, a trustee of the drop-in centre, told the Reporter: “We are in the middle of discussions with Ledbury Places around a shared vision for the use of the Barret Browning Institute and the legal relationship needed between our organisations.

“Those discussions continue.”

The ambition to transform the Elizabeth Barrett Browning Institute first made the headlines in February, following a presentation to Ledbury Town Council.

The two-year transformation would result in a cafe which would be open to the public on Saturdays and a performance space for various groups, including the young people who currently use the venue as a drop-in centre.

The group which owns the building, Ledbury Places, has recently spent £80,000 on structural improvements.

The town clock tower is part of the Institute, and Ledbury Places is also planning to carry out work on that.

But transforming the building would be costly. A new charity, named by young people, will be formed by the organisation which runs the drop in centre, Ledbury Youth Activities Support, so that grants can be applied for.

Back in February, in its address to the town council, the drop-in centre representatives revealed that the cafe would cost £20,000 to set up and the hiring of two managers will cost a further £20,000 a year.

A recording studio would cost around £15,000 to set up, and a part-time studio engineer would be paid £11,500 a year. The wages of youth workers would be £20,000 a year.

At the time, Ledbury Youth Activities Support said it would seek what it called “a benevolent rent” of around £10,000 a year from Ledbury Places, but running costs would add a further £10,000 to the bill.