Reading Borough Council (RBC) is transforming the South Reading Community Centre on Northumberland Avenue into a ‘community hub’ that will include a library, children’s centre and meeting spaces together with the existing Whitley Social Club and Café.
“By bringing the library, children’s centre and community facilities under one roof, residents will be able to access a wider range of services and support more easily”, said Liz Terry, RBC lead councillor for neighbourhoods. “It also makes better use of public buildings and reduces running costs for the Council.”
The building alterations include:
- the relocation of the Whitley Library to the north wing,
- improvements to the frontage, so that the only public entrance would be through the building’s central door,
- the creation of new spaces for hire,
- the addition of an outdoor play area for the children’s centre,
- improvements to toilet and kitchen facilities.
Brian Bevan, Beard Construction special works manager, said that the current central door to the building would become the only public access and reception area, and the existing entrances to each of the wings, used for the café and the children’s centre, would become fire exits.
The new Whitley library will occupy most of the front of the north wing of the building (on the right hand side, as seen from Northumberland Avenue), making an ‘L’ shaped room. The floor of the main hall will be revarnished, and the building will get new events rooms and an upgraded kitchen.
The building works had uncovered newspapers, including one dated 25 August 1939, wrapped around a concrete lintel near the main entrance.
The new South Reading Community Hub is due to fully open in summer 2018. The Whitley Social Club and Café, nursery and children’s centre will remain open throughout, albeit with disruption, and the Whitley Library will stay on its current Northumberland Avenue roundabout site until it moves to the new community hub next year.
You can contact RBC property development officer Reubena Ovuorie if you have enquiries about the building works.
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