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Time running out to have your say on cuts and libraries future

Sunday deadline to respond to £8m cuts to public services

cash money

TIME is running out for you to have your say on two of the biggest issues currently facing the district.

This Sunday is the deadline for people wishing to comment on West Berkshire Council’s proposals to save £8m next year.

Of the £8m, £7m will be from redundancies, generating additional income and a potential increase in council tax of up to four per cent.

The plans also include cutting funding to transport for disabled children, road safety and drainage maintenance.

Once the public consultation has closed, the responses will be reviewed and a draft budget will be considered by the council’s executive on Thursday, February 16, 2017.

If approved, it will then go before full council for approval on Thursday, March 2, 2017.

The public consultation on proposed changes to the library service also ends on Sunday.

Three options are being put forward – all of which involve cutting staffing and relying on volunteers.

The most drastic option would see £645,000 cut and all staff in seven branch libraries replaced by volunteers.

Another option would create a ‘hub and spoke’ library network, replacing half of the staff at two branches, with the remaining five run entirely by volunteers.   

This would save an estimated £620,000, but the council does not say which libraries would be affected.  

However, a consultant report indicates that hubs in the east and west of the district could be established.

The final option would see staffing levels at seven branches cut in half, with volunteers taking up the slack; saving an estimated £580,000.

All options include closing Wash Common Library and cutting one mobile library.

Newbury Library would remain fully staffed, although the service would be streamlined.

Leader of West Berkshire Council Roger Croft said: “We have been consulting with our communities on our proposals and there are now just a few days left if people want to have their say.

“It’s important that those who live, work or learn in the district take a look at our plans and tell us how they will be affected.”

To view the seven savings proposals, and to have your say, go online at

To comment on the proposed changes to the library service, visit 

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