Thu, 24 Mar 2016
DESPITE the ‘stay of execution’ for some libraries, bus services and theatres, West Berkshire Council is still set to press ahead with £6.7m cuts to public services tonight (Thursday).
The cash-strapped authority is expected to vote through 16 cuts, although seven of these have been given a total of £1m of ‘transitional funding’ to allow them more time to adjust.
But the remaining proposals are due to be approved, including the likely closure of two libraries – at Theale and Wash Common.
Parking charges in car parks across Pangbourne, Thatcham and Theale are set to increase, while the reduced Sunday charges in Newbury car parks will be scrapped and replaced with the higher weekday rate.
The council is also proposing to reduce the cost of running West Berkshire Museum by £40,000 a year by reducing schools and other educational work, cutting recruitment and training by 20 per cent and reducing public access to the museum’s collections.
All2gether, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company supporting minority communities in West Berkshire, may see £5,000 of its £10,000 funding cut, with the remaining funding removed in 2017/18.
Trading standards, environmental health and licensing services are also set to be altered, saving £50,000.
The West Berkshire Council’s offices at Sainsbury’s at Calcot will be closed, while the service at the Smallmead Household Waste Recycling Centre at Island Road, Reading, will be stopped for West Berkshire residents.
Community Council for Berkshire, an independent charity with experience in community development work, could see its funding cut by 50 per cent, while the Community Furniture Project, based in Newbury, could also see its funding cut by 50 per cent to £5,623.
The Adult Substance Misuse Support Service is likely to have its overall budget cut by 8.4 per cent to £840,993.
West Berkshire Council has already approved its £10.8m first-phase round of savings, which includes raising car parking charges and closing a care home in Hungerford.
Tonight’s public meeting will be streamed live online on West Berkshire Council’s website.
n For a full report and reaction to tonight’s decision, pick up a copy of next week’s Newbury Weekly News.