Rise in building costs puts new Twyford library project on hold

A project proposing to build a new library in Twyford has been paused following the ‘recent and rapid increase in building costs’.

The announcement was made by Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) leader John Halsall at the start of the executive meeting last month, where discussions over the lease of the Old Polehampton Boys’ School building for the project were due to take place.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr John Halsall (Con, Wargrave, Remenham and Ruscombe), said: “We were due to discuss the lease for a proposed new library for Twyford this evening but are now not able to do so.

“The recent and rapid increase in building costs across the country necessitates pause to consider how we ensure value for money for all our residents.

“A recent tender exercise for the work required for this project revealed a significant increase of above previously planned and budgeted costs.

He added: “It is a real disappointment that we must pause our efforts. This is simply not the moment to be cavalier with our capital spending.

“We have always been prudent and will continue to be so to safeguard services and quality of life for all residents.

“I understand this will be disappointing and want to assure everybody that we remain supportive of the principle of the new library and that this is a pause to allow us time to make the right decision.”

Commenting on the decision, Cllr Stephen Conway (Lib Dem, Twyford), later told the Advertiser: “I am disappointed.

“I really hope that this is just a temporary pause, as John Halsall suggested and it will resume.

“I’m prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt on this.”

Cllr John Halsall later told the Advertiser: “The whole of the capital budget is under scrutiny and this is part of the capital budget.

“It is an unsupported part of the capital budget.”

He added: “We are pausing at the moment, in order to scrutinise the capital budget in its entirety. One of whose elements is the Twyford Library.”

Cllr Halsall confirmed that there is potential for other projects to be paused too.

During the meeting Cllr Conway also asked if part of the new building could be named after Dave Turner, who was one of The Polehampton Charity trustees before he passed away.

Cllr Bill Soane said it is a consideration that the council will take ‘very seriously.’

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