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Temporary reprieve for six libraries facing closure

West Berkshire Council says £475,000 will 'help' keep some libraries open - for now - but two still set to close

SIX of the district's libraries are set to be given a temporary reprieve after West Berkshire Council proposed to make £475,000 of 'transitional funding' available to them- but two are still set to close.

The council says the £475,000 - given to them by central government to help 'soften' the blow of the cuts - is only temporary and designed to allow those services affected more time to adjust.

The council was proposing to close all but one of the district's nine libraries and the mobile library service as part of its plan to save £17.5m in the next financial year - leaving just Newbury open.

But today's announcement means that all but two libraries - Thatcham, Hungerford, Lambourn, Pangbourne, Burghfield and Mortimer - will remain open in the short-term at least.

However, no funding is proposed to be made available to Theale or Wash Common and as a result, these libraries are expected to close this year unless volunteers come forward to run them.

The council has warned that this money is only temporary and designed to give libraries time to move to a 'different funding model'

Of the remaining £525,000 of transitional funding, £337,000 will be made available to delay the funding cuts to bus services.

A total of £56,000 will be made available to the Corn Exchange and £50,000 to children's centres.

Another £50,000 will be made available to the West Berkshire Neighbourhood Wardens.

In total, £25,000 of transitional funding will be made available to the Domestic Abuse Response Team and £25,000 to the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Council leader Roger Croft said: "We need to be clear that this money is a lifeline which will enable these services to move to a more sustainable funding model.

"In particular, it will allow us to work with partners, community groups and parishes to secure these services in the long term."

Burghfield and Mortimer libraries will merge after the council voted in favour of approving its first phase of cuts earlier this month. The move will save the council £90,000.

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