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Information Commissioner orders Council to publish confidential Arthur Hill Baths report

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has instructed Reading Borough Council (RBC) to publish an unredacted version of an internal report used in the sale of Arthur Hill Memorial Baths. The ICO said that RBC had not provided evidence or arguments to supports its decision to withhold this information for reasons of commercial confidentiality.

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Arthur Hill swimming pool is on the market

Arthur Hill Baths, the heritage swimming pool on the Park and Redlands ward borders and the nearest swimming pool to the Whitley Pump, is open for voluntary sector bids until 21 March 2018.

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Councillor’s “misdirected” remark condemned by Arthur Hill campaigners

Arthur Hill Baths

Campaigners who have raised over £10,000 to keep Arthur Hill Baths open have condemned councillor Paul Gittings for saying that their fundraising effort was “misdirected.”

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Campaign to save Arthur Hill swimming pool reaches £10k target

Arthur Hill Baths

The campaign to save the Arthur Hill swimming pool has been so successful at reaching its £10,000 target that they have decided to reach for an extra £2,000 to allow essential repair work to begin.

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Arthur Hill Memorial Baths to close this year

Arthur Hill Baths

A proposal will be put before the next Reading Borough Council policy committee meeting on 26 September 2016 to close the Arthur Hill Memorial Baths on 19 December this year.

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Oscar Night at the RBC Policy Committee: the winner is Greenwich Leisure!

Rivermead in June 2017

The Reading Borough Council (RBC) policy committee on 20 January was meant to be an Oscar night for an unnamed winner of the Award to Design, Build and Maintain Reading’s Boroughwide Leisure Centres, who would only ever be referred to as bidder A.  The frustration of the procurement process was too much and the compère, RBC leader Jason Brock, decided to reveal the successful bidder’s name. But wait, hadn’t RBC chief executive officer (CEO) Peter Sloman already done that?

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Leader of the Council confirms sale of the Central Club

Central Club sold subject to planning permission

The former Central Club on London Street

Leader of Reading Borough Council (RBC) Councillor Jason Brock confirmed at the RBC policy committee meeting on 26 September that the former Central Club on London Street had been sold subject to planning permission.

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Don’t look at this thing! Look at that thing, over there!

By Scaramouche.

Reading Borough Council treated the town to a masterclass in diversion and obfuscation at their council meeting of 26 February, only managing to clarify that councillors were not obliged to clarify anything, and that rather than asking pettyfogging questions about how they were spending their money, the public should bask in the glow of virtue signalling instead.

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Twinned with the Whitley Pump – the Jubilee Fountain

The Queen Victoria Jubilee Fountain in St Mary’s Butts, Reading is described by Historic England as “a typical Victorian amalgam of forms and conceits”. It was placed there to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne.

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Technical fault at Reading Borough Council

By Scaramouche.

Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) lead councillor for health, wellbeing and sport Graeme Hoskin unexpectedly started channelling Little Dorrit at the policy committee meeting on 29 October. It is gratifying to know that in this era of austerity RBC can still maintain the high standards of circumlocution and inaction for which all levels of English government are justly famed.

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Protestors disrupt council policy meeting

Peter Burt, from the Save Arthur Hill Baths campaign

Protestors from Reclaim Reading, a group who use art and provocative actions to ask who controls Reading, served a ‘public information notice’ at the Reading Borough Council (RBC) policy meeting on Monday 24 September.

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‘Coalition of the disaffected’ takes shape on London Street

Aspire and CAG meeting at RISC (drawing: Huma Jehan)

Reading’s Caribbean Associations Group (CAG) and Aspire CIC have decided on political action in the aftermath of Reading Borough Council’s controversial sale of the Central Club to property developers Red Line Land.

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Three protests at council policy committee meeting

Reading Borough Council (RBC) policy committee on the evening Monday 16 July saw three very different public protests played out in front of councillors and RBC officers.

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Prologue to the Black History Mural and Central Club debate

The sequence of events on the agenda for the meeting of Reading Borough Council (RBC) on 17 October was altered to allow questions from members of the public before the presentation of the petition and eagerly awaited debate on the Black History Mural and Central Club.

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The year on Katesgrove Hill

Some years are defined by great songs, some by great personalities, some by great tragedies. This year has been alarming both nationally and internationally, but on the oft-ignored local level, the year was defined by the sound of the tide going out on civic society. The world clearly has bigger problems than the damage wrought by the tortured thrashing of Reading Borough Council as it gets strangled by central government, but one can only be dismayed at the prospect of more of the same next year, exacerbated by the council’s difficulty in controlling its finances.

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Clouds are gathering over the Civic Offices

A Whitley Pump opinion
clouds gathering
Much was made by the audit & governance committee on 18 November of the problems caused by the transition from the previous auditors, KPMG, to the new ones, Ernst & Young, who were appointed by the Audit Commission to audit Reading Borough Council (RBC) for the next three years.

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Whitley was in the Domesday Book

The Domesday entry for Whitley is in the bottom right hand corner

The Domesday entry for Whitley is in the bottom right hand corner

It has been 950 years since the Battle of Hastings, and 2016 has seen many events to commemorate the anniversary. After 1066 came the Bayeux Tapestry, and 20 years later the Domesday Book recorded the wealth of the nation.

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Greens and Labour disagree over four year council funding settlement

Demolition of the Old Civic Centre

Demolition of the old Civic Centre

The headline items at the Reading Borough Council (RBC) meeting on 18 October were the motion of no confidence in councillor Jan Gavin brought by councillor Ricky Duveen and the debate on the closure of the Arthur Hill Memorial Baths.

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The first local elections in Katesgrove Ward in 1887

Extract from Reading Extension Map 1887 - Courtesy of Reading Libraries

Extract from Reading Extension Bill 1887 map – Courtesy of Reading Libraries

Until 1887, Reading had three wards; Abbey, Castle & Church. In 1887 Reading borough boundaries extended considerably and the number of wards was increased to 10.

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How far to swim?

Arthur Hill Baths

Arthur Hill Baths

Arthur Hill Memorial Baths and Reading’s Central Pool may be replaced within the next five years by modern facilities. The policy committee of Reading Borough Council considered a review of leisure facilities and future provision at their meeting on 30 November 2015 and Katesgrove swimmers may have further to travel in the future.

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