Twyford community campaigners fighting for funding "scraps"By Jon Nurse
February 26, 2013
Campaigners are fighting for funding ‘scraps’ as they devote their efforts to delivering a community hub, according to one of the village’s borough councillors.
Cllr Lindsay Ferris is frustrated that the hub, which would include a library, is low on the borough council’s list of priorities in its latest budget.
He feels it is not unreasonable for the village to be seeking just one percent of the total allocated for Wokingham town centre’s regeneration.
Two proposals have been put to the borough council by Twyford Village Partnership and The Polehampton Charity, but council leader David Lee says a new hub isn’t a priority as the authority copes with its lowest ever Government formula grant.
“To me the cuts are a red herring,” Cllr Ferris said. “We have had a £5.2 million revenue cut effectively.
“If we are going to be setting up and financing a hub this year for Twyford the majority would be capital money.
“I’m not impressed at all. It was likely last May that there would be a further squeeze on the budget.
“If you look at the budget, Twyford, Woodley, Earley and the rest of the borough get scraps.”
Cllr Ferris points to the planned regeneration of Wokingham town centre which he says will involve £85 million of investment.
He believes the northern parishes need just one per cent of that to secure the long-awaited facility.
Cllr Lee said: “Two proposals are on the table and both look interesting.
“We are preparing to work with them but while we go through dramatic changes in funding it’s not formally on the forward budget.
“We are still working with them for the coming year but it’s not a priority of this council.
“That doesn’t mean it can’t come forward in the next 12 months.”
Patrick Heather, Twyford Village Partnership chairman, remains determined for the group’s plans for the Twyford Men’s Club site in Wargrave Road to become a reality in the near future.
He said: “I’ve not had an official response from Wokingham Borough Council.
“The last I have heard was David Lee wants an amount of time to consider the proposals before making a decision. That was positive and that was in January.
“The fact there is a second Polehampton Charity proposal muddies the waters a bit.
“I’m disappointed that has happened at such a late stage as we could have played it differently as a community.”