The old Whitley library on Northumberland Avenue has been added to Reading’s list of locally important buildings and structures. This means that in future it will be subject to more detailed planning controls than an unlisted building.
Although local listing is not as significant as a national listing, Historic England say that it is an important way for the community and the local planning authority to “… identify heritage assets that are valued as distinctive elements of the local historic environment”.
Reading Borough Council have strict criteria for local listing depending including age, architecture and social significance of the building or other structure.
Since it closed in June, and the library moved to the South Reading Community Hub further down Northumberland Avenue, the windows of the building have, sadly, been boarded over and protected against climbing (pictured above).
In his article ‘Whitley Library: the architecture of hope‘, our Whitley Pump colleague Matthew Farrall wrote:
I will be asking Reading Borough Council if we can at least preserve the skin and bones of this lovely, tidy, modest, plucky little building which has played its part in the history of our town for the past 80 years. Perhaps if it could at least be locally listed there would be a chance of saving the building or at least exploring other options about its future use.
Matthew was unable to complete the task before his death in April this year. Dennis Wood, author of Views from the Hill, and I picked up the work and submitted an application for local listing in June this year.