Ash pearce - Labour Church Ward Councillor
Church's Labour Team, led by our Councillor Ashley Pearce

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Monthly Archives: February 2016

March events

  • Councillors surgery: Ash, Eileen and Paul will be at the Whitley cafe on Northumberland Avenue to speak to residents and help with any queries on Saturday March 5th from 10.30am-12pm.
  • Canvassing: The Church ward team will be out speaking to residents to ask for any concerns on Monday 14th March at 5.30pm on Shinfield Road and on Saturday March 19th at 11am on Hartland Road.
  • Library consultation: Whitley Library’s future is under consultation with the possibility of the Library moving into the community centre building. We want to hear your views and the consultation is under way. Councillors will be available to answer questions on Tuesday 29th March from 5-6.30pm at the Whitley Cafe.
  • Full Council meeting:  Councillors will be back in the Civic centre chamber on  Tuesday 22nd March at 6.30pm to answer questions from the public, Cllr Eileen McElligott will be asking for an update on progress with helping South Reading schools and Ashley will be asking about the impact of falling numbers in registered voters.
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Reading Council budget

On Tuesday at Reading’s Full Council meeting the Labour and Conservative Councillors voted through a budget that meant cuts to Council services and a rise in Council tax for Reading residents. This is not a decision taken lightly. I have lived in Reading all of my life and these cuts will hit people I know and care for. The Council tax rise will also mean an increase in what residents have to pay in Council tax by about £2-3 a week on average. This increase still does not fully plug the massive funding cut that George Osborne and central Government inflicted upon Reading. It does mean we can still educate our children, we can still care for our elderly and disabled, and we can still collect your bins. The Council is evolving and changing to cope with these cuts but some things will not be possible and for many we know this will be tough. The Council and Councillors will continue to work with and consult with residents on any changes that are occurring. And unlike the Reading MP’s we will fight for Reading residents. Whilst Rob Wilson may not think you are worth fighting for extra funding for, we do. Cuts in Council services and a rise in Council tax may not mean much to a man who is able to claim £177,000 in expenses and who is enjoying an 11% pay rise this year. But most of us do not have that luxury and would urge the Tory MP’s to lobby their Government to stop the unfair treatment of Reading.
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Over 50’s social club celebrates first year

South Reading’s over 50’s club celebrated its first anniversary this week.

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Beat the Street returns

The Council funded campaign to help get people active is back for 2016! People are challenged to join a team to see how far they can cycle, walk or run whilst the competition runs. Why not join one of our local schools to give them a boost up the table!? More information can be found here

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Whitley Library consultation

Last autumn the Council launched the first of a two-part Library Review public consultation. The way people use libraries is changing. At the same time Councils everywhere are having to make major savings because of Government cuts in funding. The size of the funding cuts that Reading Council is now facing means that we need to look across all service areas to find savings – and this includes libraries. We cannot continue to deliver the library service the way we have in the past.

No decisions as to the future of our libraries service have been taken. But, taking all of this information together, the Council has developed a set of proposals for the Library Service in Reading for consultation.

What is proposed for Whitley Library?

Whitley Library is currently located just off a roundabout, a short walk from local shops and the South Reading Youth and Community Centre. Whilst greatly valued by its customers, Whitley Library is significantly less well used than other branches, although it serves a fairly large catchment area.

In this context, there is an opportunity in South Reading to make more efficient use of public buildings by bringing services together into one building. It is proposed that a library service is retained in South Reading and moved into the South Reading Youth and Community Centre, creating a new ‘community hub’.

The Council believes that bringing services together would increase use of the library and encourage customers to access a wider range of services and support. At the heart of this approach is making neighbourhood facilities vibrant, well-used and sustainable. Library services are about so much more than lending books, and it is precisely because of this wider role that there are benefits of sharing spaces with other services and working more closely together.

Creating a single community hub reduces building costs such as heating and lighting and also allows shared reception staff for more than one service. This would be supported by the introduction of self-service library kiosks allowing customers to borrow, renew and return books and to pay fines.

It is also proposed that staffing cover could be dedicated to library services for 20 hours per week. A shared staffing model might mean that the library service could be accessible for more than 20 hours a week but this would be a minimum.
Wider Plans for South Reading Youth and Community Centre

In order to allow more detailed feedback on the proposal to move the library service in South Reading into the South Reading Youth and Community Centre, the Council is exhibiting illustrative plans here at the library for the duration of the Phase 2 12 week consultation period from 22nd February – 16th May.

Have Your Say

The consultation will run from 22nd February to 16th May. Plans will be displayed in Whitley Library throughout this period and you can have your say by:
Responding to the online questionnaire at
Completing the questions included at the end of the consultation document, available at any Reading Library or the Civic Offices.
Email in to:
Write in to: Library Review, Reading Borough Council, Bridge Street, Reading, RG1 2LU.

Drop-in sessions when Council staff will be available to explain the plans will also be held on dates below. Feedback to staff from these drop-in sessions will also be captured and reported back as part of the consultation.
Thursday March 10th, 10am – 1pm (Whitley library)
Tuesday March 29th, 4pm – 7pm (Community centre)


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