SOUTHEND’S brand new £27million library is taking shape on the site of the old Farringdon car park.

Work started on March 5 on The Forum which be the new joint public and academic library. The shell of the building is virtually complete with the abstract glazing design finished.

The Forum will house state of the art teaching and learning facilities for both the University of Essex and South Essex College and also the Focal Point Gallery. There will also be a new café and lecture theatre.

On Friday the new public square outside the building will burst into life with a special tree-planting ceremony.

Executive Councillor for Culture and Tourism, Derek Jarvis said: “The ceremonial tree-planting is another milestone in the journey towards the opening of the Forum Southend which is a hugely exciting joint development.

“Work is progressing nicely and the building looks great.”

Officials from the three partners behind the innovative first tri-partnership of its kind in the UK will plant the saplings in Elmer Square.

Southend Council, the University of Essex and South Essex College have all provided funding for the new library.

The council is providing £12.5m towards the cost of the project, with the University contributing £10.4m and the College £4.4m.

The new building will replace the 1960s Central Library in Victoria Avenue which is recommended for closure in a review of the library service currently ongoing.