A NEW library in Twyford is on the horizon after the Charity Commission transferred the building to the council.
For 20 years, councillors in Twyford have been campaigning for a bigger and better library for the village residents.
Now, Cllr Stephen Conway said he hopes the new facility in the old Polehampton Boys’ School will be ready in early 2021.
“It’s been a real team effort, and a lot of people have put in a lot of work to get her,” said Cllr Conway. “A lot of credit is due to a lot of people, especially Polehampton Charities Committee who have worked to develop a scheme with the council.”
The charity has now arranged a long-term lease with Wokingham Borough Council, who will manage the site and make alterations to create the library.
Previous planning permission to transform the site has expired, and new plans will now be submitted.
“I don’t think it’s going to be difficult to get renewed permission,” said Cllr Conway. “And I was assured in July that the plans are still on the capital monitoring programme. The council executive just needs to approve funding for the alterations.”
He added: “I’ve been campaigning for a new library in Twyford for about 20 years … I never expected we’d get it in the middle of a crisis.
“This is really great news that we’re in sight of delivering the new library.”
Cllr Conway said the current library is in “old huts put up in the 1980s as a temporary solution.”
He added: “Various sites have been considered. What is now Twyford Snooker Club was a possibility for some time.”
He said the new library will have a bigger capacity, with space for meetings and the local history society to store its documents and archives.
“It’s been a battle to keep it on the agenda and in the public eye,” Cllr Conway added. “But it’s a credit to the current leader of the council for recognising this is a good thing to do.”
And Cllr John Halsall – whose seat is neighbouring Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe – was equally delighted at the transfer.
“I’m pleased it’s progressing, I made the decision that we would make the library happen and I’m more than happy that it’s going ahead, and in this listed building.”
He thought a date for the new library would be a few years away.
“The borough council has resubmitted a planning application, but it’s not going to open in 2021 or 2022, it will probably be the year after.”