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Dust over Maidstone as Old Springfield Library is torn down


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Dust clouds have engulfed part of a town after a 16-storey library building earmarked for hundreds of homes was torn down.

The building near Ringlestone, Maidstone, was once home to Springfield Library but has since become an "eyesore" to residents.

The former Springfield library building in Sandling Road being knocked down over the weekend

Built in 1966, it has been vacant for years after previously being used as a library and offices for Kent County Council.

Works to bring it down started on Saturday and have carried on this week, with cranes plucking away at the building bit by bit.

The building has become a part of the skyline for people coming and going from the town via the A229 Royal Engineers' Road.

And the job to bring it down has caused some concerns with residents about the amount of dust flying around and covering their cars and homes.

Springfield library tower in Sandling Road, Maidstone, has been earmarked for new homes. Picture: Lisa Brown
Springfield library tower in Sandling Road, Maidstone, has been earmarked for new homes. Picture: Lisa Brown
Springfield library in Maidstone is being knocked down. Picture: Darren Hartley
Springfield library in Maidstone is being knocked down. Picture: Darren Hartley

Lisa Brown, of Foxglove Rise, said: "My Nan used to live near it and my Dad and I would visit every Saturday, so seeing the tower was just, always there.

"When I first heard that it was coming down, I was sad because it was a landmark of this area and brought back many memories for me personally, however in the past few years it’s been a haven for drug addicts and vandals, it was worrying that someone would end up getting hurt.

"Plus it had been left so long it was just becoming an eyesore, so it needed to come down. The dust has been horrendous especially for those close by, but it had to be done. It’s the end of an era for this end of town.

"Living where I live even my car is covered in dust, closer to it, it’s horrendous! I went out this morning and up on the main road I could barely see because of the dust.

"The residents weren’t given any notice of it coming down this weekend so they had no chance of moving cars or changing plans. A lot of people are concerned about the asbestos issue but I haven’t a clue.

Springfield library in Maidstone is being knocked down near Ringlestone. Picture: Kay Adams Dennison
Springfield library in Maidstone is being knocked down near Ringlestone. Picture: Kay Adams Dennison
Residents watched on as Springfield library tower in Maidstone was knocked down. Picture: Lisa Brown
Residents watched on as Springfield library tower in Maidstone was knocked down. Picture: Lisa Brown

"One of our local MPs has been told it was cleared and they have a certificate but no one has actually seen the certificate."

Darren Hartley, of Moncktons Avenue, said" It has become a bit of an eye sore because it has been derelict for sometime now.

"I do remember it as a functioning library and it always stood out coming into town but the new extremely large apartment has now taken over the skyline.

"I hope they do something nice with that area, but not more flats. That roundabout is already busy with the new large tower block and the smaller ones behind we don't need more flats around here but unfortunately I believe that is what they are looking to do.

"We did suffer with dust on the cars but nowhere near as much as the residents in Radnor and Bambidge as I saw some photos of their cars and it was horrendous."

Works to bring the former Maidstone library down have been going on over the weekend. Picture: Andrew James
Works to bring the former Maidstone library down have been going on over the weekend. Picture: Andrew James

The most recent plans for the site would see the old library replaced with nearly 200 affordable homes.

The Sandling Road site is a 10-minute walk from Maidstone East railway station and sits near another development of 295 one-and-two-bedroom apartments and three-and-four-bedroom houses where the former Whatman paper mill used to be.

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