Wokingham Borough Council's ambitious vision of an enhanced, combined leisure, culture and community quarter at the Carnival site in Wokingham could take a step forward at next week's decision-making executive (30 March).
The aspiration at the Carnival site is to bring together a range of great things for people to do in new and improved facilities in a single, easy-to-reach location for residents of the town and wider area. As part of this, the council’s executive is being asked to consider, in principle, moving Wokingham Library on to the site in a purpose built new home.
Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for resident services, said: "Over the past few years we’ve been working closely with our residents to come up with a vision of what a 21st Century library service should offer. A move to Carnival could allow us to create a fantastic state-of-the-art new library for Wokingham and surrounding area which would be at the heart of the new leisure and cultural centre of the town – an ideal place for people to link activities or try something new, maybe see an exhibition or attend a lecture before going on to the gym. Or browsing for library books, whilst the children are in swim school and then all grabbing a coffee in the new café."
Should the executive make an in-principle decision to move the library, additional work would be carried out to look in detail at this move, including how to generate efficiencies and reduce overall costs through sharing facilities.
Alongside the library report, the executive is also being asked to consider using compulsory purchase powers to secure all the necessary land interests to moving forward with Carnival Phase 2.
Cllr Mark Ashwell, executive member for planning and regeneration, said: "Work on the first phase of the Carnival regeneration is going well and we will be opening the new car park in just a few months. Alongside this we’ve continued refining our proposals for Phase 2, looking in greater detail at layout and the types of facilities and activities it can offer.
"Improving the leisure and community facilities available to Wokingham Borough residents is incredibly important and something the council is totally committed to. As at Peach Place we continue to seek to acquire all land and rights required through negotiations and would only revert to using compulsory purchase powers where an agreement cannot be reached. However it’s a complex and lengthy legal process so, with our plans to start on site in 2019, this is the right time to start looking at what’s required to deliver the second phase of the Carnival development."