Vacant Whitley Library to become community centre as council reveals sale plan

A vacant library is set to be sold on to a mystery bidder and transformed into a community hub.

The former Whitley Library, at 205 Northumberland Avenue, was closed in cost-cutting plans, with library services moving to the South Reading Community Hub, on the same road.

Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Policy committee will vote next Monday (June 22) on whether to sell the old library to ‘Bidder A’, which wants to use the building for ‘community purposes’.

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The confidential chosen bidders wants the building to “link with the wider community” and will hire rooms to other community groups.

Five offers were received for the property, with ‘bidder A’ offering the highest price and confirming it has the ability to complete the purchase.

The chosen bidder has also confirmed that, despite the Covid-19 emergency, they are still willing and able to proceed with the purchase at the offer price.

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The mystery purchaser will be required to respect the local listed building and preservation orders placed on some of the surrounding trees.

One part of the property owned by the council, green space next to the building, has been licenced to a neighbour for use as a garden and driveway and is now set to be sold on to this neighbour.

All Reading libraries are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Reading Chronicle