CLITHEROE Library may remain under wraps for up to 14 weeks while a £100,000 restoration project is carried out.

Scaffolding has been put around the building and work by Nelson-based firm Stone Edge is due to last until the end of March.

Six stonemasons will work on the project which includes an investigation into cracks appearing in the masonry.

The work also includes refurbishing windows, roof coverings and external decorations.

The library will continue to open as normal while the work goes on.

Clitheroe town councillor Kevin Horkin said: “It’s a bit of an eyesore and 14 weeks seems to be a very long time, bearing in mind that we are wanting to promote and improve the town all of the time.

“However, it does seem to be necessary in order to maintain our proud heritage.”

Stone Edge managing director, Richard Denneny, said: “Many mistakes are made when deciding upon a repair scheme for an historic building.

“Evidence of this is everywhere on our local municipal buildings. The wrong repair method will often accelerate future deterioration of the historical fabric.”

The Lancashire County Council-owned building was built in 1905 with money from the Carnegie Trust.

The original gold key, used for the opening, is now in Clitheroe Castle Museum.

Previously, a library was run from the front room of a house in Parson Lane since 1838.

In 1990, there was a major refurbishment, when the library was extended into the adjacent building, which was owned by Ribble Valley Borough Council.

The Grade II listed building was built on the site of a Moot Hall, an old courthouse, which was originally constructed around 1600.

Convicted local people were locked in the cells underneath the building which still exist next to the library workroom.

A spokesman for LCC said: “The main purpose of the work we have commissioned is to consolidate the stonework and to improve safety.

“We’re also planning to do ad hoc repairs with natural stone to match existing, isolated examples of pointing replacement, repair and redecoration of windows and other woodwork, all of a sympathetic nature.

“Some minor internal repairs will also be done.”