Flood-hit St Asaph library and one-stop shop reopens

image captionThe library was caught in floods that hit St Asaph last November

A library in one of Wales' smallest cities is reopening after it was damaged by floods that killed one person and damaged about 500 homes.

Flooding devastated parts of St Asaph last November, including the library which is also a one-stop shop for Denbighshire council services.

The building has been redesigned and refurbished with hundreds of new books.

Reading services manager Bethan Hughes said: "It's not just back to normal but it's modernised and improved."

St Asaph was the worst affected area by floods that hit Denbighshire last autumn.

One woman died when the River Elwy breached flood defences that were built to cope with a once in a century event.

The flooding also left the single storey library and one-stop shop around 18 in (45 cm) deep in flooding water, wrecking books and furniture.

Ms Hughes said the situation in the library could not be compared with people who were flooded out of their homes but was still distressing for staff.

She said: "It was a very sad sight and I know it was quite upsetting for the staff to see because it is such a popular community library.

"We did rescue a lot of the book stock and got it off the site very quickly but basically the building was completely gutted."

She said the refurbishment had allowed the council to completely re-work the building's interior.

She said: "It's a much more modern layout. It's quite different from what it was. We have moved things around.

media captionFlooding devastated parts of St Asaph last November

"I would say 90% of the book stock on display this morning is brand new. It's more colourful and there's more space for holding events like children story times and class visits from local schools."

'Patience and support'

Denbighshire council's Jamie Groves said: "We would like to thank the people of the city for their patience and support during the refurbishment period and we look forward to welcoming them back to the library."

Councillor Huw Jones, lead member with responsibility for libraries, added: "This is good news for the people of St Asaph and the surrounding area who have been without this valuable service since the awful events of November."

St Asaph was awarded city status as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in March 2012.

However, it is not Wales smallest city as it is more than twice the size of fellow cathedral city St Davids in Pembrokeshire, which claims to be the smallest city in the UK, with a population of nearly 1,600.

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