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Councillor calls for new Tywford library to be an arts and culture hub

Twyford library

A TWYFORD councillor is calling for the village’s new library to “celebrate” its local residents.

Stephen Conway, ward councillor for Twyford, said the pandemic has highlighted “the value of community” and believes this should be reflected in the new centre.

In March, Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee approved turning the former Old Polehampton Boys School, a Grade II Listed building, into a new library and lobby, with an added extension.

Now, as plans for the site develop, Cllr Conway said he wants arts and culture to be at the centre.

“We would like the new library to showcase Twyford’s history and become an arts and culture hub,” he said.

“I’ve been approached by Twyford and Ruscombe Local History Society to see whether they could host an exhibition in the foyer area.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea.”

Cllr Conway said many people have relied on the arts over the past year and this could help “revive “ community spirit post-pandemic.

“I’m very keen to see a recognition of Twyford’s history,” he explained.

“We’ve always known that a sense of community is important, but that’s been brought to the fore by the pandemic.

“It has reminded people how much they rely on the community they live in, and it gives them that sense of belonging.”

He said he would also like to display work from local artists in the library, as well as encourage sustainable travel to and from the site once it opens.

“We are [also] keen to build on the increased amount of walking that has been taking place during lockdown,” Cllr Conway explained, “which is not only good for personal health but also for the environment.

“As traffic levels creep back up to pre-pandemic levels, the new enthusiasm for walking will be difficult to sustain unless we can make it safer for pedestrians to walk in our village.”

He said he would like to see walking and cycling become a “permanent feature” in Twyford.

“There’s an opportunity here to do something that was better than before,” he added.

“This all sounds very idealistic, but it’s the kind of vision we have for Twyford.”

Cllr Conway said he has been campaigning for the library for 20 years.

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