Earlier this year the Executive Committee of Wokingham Borough Council agreed in principle to the relocation of Wokingham Library to the new Carnival Phase 2 site within Wokingham town centre, with the final approval being confirmed once the Lead Executive Member had agreed the Impact Assessment and Business Case for the relocation. The Executive also agreed that the plans for the relocation be publicised as soon as practical to enable feedback on these proposals and subsequently the design.
Since this time, the Council has publicised its proposals for the Carnival Phase 2 development, including the relocated Wokingham Library, and has invited comments back from residents either directly to the Council or at the three drop in sessions that were held during May. All of this useful feedback, along with other service data has been used to complete the Impact Assessment and Business Case which this week has been agreed by Councillor Norman Jorgensen, Lead Executive Member for Environment.
Details of the Impact Assessment for the relocation of Wokingham Library can be found on the Council’s Regeneration webpage. The Business Case contains commercially sensitive information and therefore is not publicly available, however a summary of this is include within the Impact Assessment.
Relocating the library to the new Carnival Phase 2 site will provide a lot of additional benefits for library users and other residents. These include:
- Approx. 150m2 more of usable space in the library
- A single large flexible space that can adapt to the changing needs of library users
- Enhanced toilet facilities on the same floor
- A bright open appearance with lots of natural light
- Greatly improved parking with over 500 public spaces adjacent to the new facility
- Co-location with other leisure and cultural activities
- Improved café facilities
- More efficient site management, including shared plant facilities
- An improved synergy with the rest of the redeveloped town centre
- Opportunities for longer opening times, including more opening at weekends
The relocation of the library to its new location is not planned until sometime towards the end of 2021, so library users will still be enjoying the library in its current place in the town centre until its new home is ready to move into. The Council has stated many times that Wokingham Library will not be required to move out of its current building until the new building is ready to move into.
Councillor Norman Jorgensen, Lead Executive Member for Environment said: “A lot of work has been done in the past few months to assess the idea of relocating the library in Wokingham to the new Carnival Phase 2 site. From the original Executive Report and its review through the Call-In process, the publicising of the proposals and now finally with the Impact Assessment and Business Case, this idea has been thoroughly appraised and I am pleased to be able to confirm my agreement to the relocation and a new home for Wokingham Library.
"I am grateful to everyone who has taken the time to share their thoughts and suggestions on the proposal, either directly to me or through the drop-in sessions. Our Library Service places a very high value on understanding the views of our residents, and I would hope and encourage people to keep telling us what they would like to see in the new library as we plan for its opening in 2021."