WORK to convert a disused school hall into a library took a step forward after the planning committee approved the plans.
In July 2019, Wokingham Borough Council’s ruling executive gave its backing to a proposal to convert the Old Polehampton Boys School into the community facility. It needed approval from the Charity Commission to convert the usage of the Grade II listed building.
This has now come through, and the planning committee was able to give the nod to the proposal, which would see the High Street based site, opposite The Duke of Wellington pub, converted to the library, which will include community facilities, a café, a police office and a parish council office.
The planning committee, at its virtual meeting on Wednesday, February 10, had given approval in 2016, but this expired in November last year.
Phase one will see the existing building refurnished to create the library space and build a single storey rear extension. The second phase will see a two-storey rear extension added.
To make the project happen, the existing toilet block will be removed and four trees felled.
The project was passed unanimously.
Cllr Stephen Conway (Lib Dem, Twyford) thanked a number of people for their work on making the project come together, including Dave Turner.
Cllr John Halsall (Con, Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe) said it would be a beautiful building in the village centre and he was delighted with the plans. “I am very grateful for the parish council’s support”.
Cllr Lindsay Ferris (Lib Dem, Twyford) said that Dave Turner and Twyford Together has been instrumental in making the project happen.
“It will provide a much-needed community facility for Twyford and put a Grade II listed building back into the use,” he said.
Speaking again, Cllr Conway said that the site had been used as a library before and a plan to convert it had been mooted back in the 1960s. “I can testify to the strong community support,” he said.
Cllr Pauline Jorgensen wanted to know what would happen to the existing library site, but Cllr Simon Weeks said it was not relevant to this application. Officers said they weren’t sure at this stage.