Wokingham Borough Council financial position

Wokingham Borough Council explains its financial position

Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) is facing an extremely challenging financial position, caused by high inflation, increasing resident needs and years of low funding from Government.

The number of councils that have effectively gone bankrupt, or are close to that state, is increasing and, although Wokingham Borough is not facing this at this stage, it is important that residents understand the true picture.

In order to set a balanced budget next year, WBC must find savings or generate extra income of more than £15million.

These savings need to be made from its regular running costs and will be ongoing; they cannot be made just by cancelling or postponing one-off projects.

The causes – Inflation

Although the rate of inflation has reduced in recent months, prices are still rising and have been doing so at rates not seen for 30 years.

This high inflation has caused real cost increases of about £10.8million this year. The inflation rate is expected to come down, but costs will not reduce and so this is an ongoing impact to the borough.

The causes – Increasing needs

An increasing number of people in the borough have care needs that the council must meet.

These include children with Special Educational Needs, children in care, adults with learning difficulties or physical disabilities.

The needs residents have are also becoming more complex. The additional cost of providing these services this year is about £9.7million.

The causes – Continuous low Government funding

WBC receives approximately £30million a year less from the Government than the average council – that works out at about £400 less per household each year.

This is due to the formula the Government uses to slice up the overall funding pie it allocates to councils.

These formulas do not factor in vital issues such as the number and complexity of children with Special Educational Needs; they are about ten years out of date and bear no resemblance to reality of local needs or costs.

Find out more

The Council has issued statements setting out its financial position:…

New hub

WBC has also launched a new online hub to explain its finances, how your Council Tax is used and what the council is doing to improve the situation.

Access it here:

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Improvements to services and facilities

Woodley Town Council approves new capital projects to improve its services and facilities in Woodley 

Eleven new projects were approved at the recent Strategy & Resources Committee meeting, to replace or improve certain services and facilities maintained or owned by Woodley Town Council. 

The projects will be funded from earmarked reserves, which the Council has set aside for capital investment projects.

Christmas Lighting

This project will upgrade and improve Christmas lighting in the town centre, enhancing the always-popular Christmas events and encouraging visitors to the town centre to see the lights and Christmas tree, improving footfall. The new lighting will also be energy efficient, reducing carbon impact. 

Replacement kitchens at Coronation and Chapel Halls

Coronation and Chapel Halls are popular community amenities and the installation of new kitchen units, cupboards, worktops and flooring will provide enhanced facilities for hirers, increasing income, attracting new hirers. 

Line marking in our car parks

To improve safety and reduce any potential hazards by marking out all car park spaces, pedestrian walkway markings, traffic flow markings, pedestrian crossing markings with durable markings, which will last longer, at the following locations: 

  • Woodford Park main car park 
  • Woodford Park overflow car park 
  • Driveway to WPC from Haddon Drive 
  • Coronation Hall car park 
  • Chapel Hall car park 
  • Oakwood Centre car park. 

Grass reinforcement on the Memorial Ground path

The desire line path across the Memorial Ground has, over many years, created a shallow trench, which becomes muddy in wet weather and creates uneven ground. This is a very busy pedestrian route and the Council will reinforce it with an appropriate matting tile. The tiles will allow grass to grow through, maintaining the grass finish, while eliminating the wear and tear on the ground and providing a safer pathway for the public. 

Replacement of public noticeboards

Our noticeboards are an excellent way to share local, community and Council news and the replacement of our existing noticeboards for more durable ones with increased accessibility will help to continue to provide this service.

We have noticeboards at the following locations:

  • Brecon Road
  • Butts Hill Road
  • Headley Road
  • Woodlands Avenue
  • Colemansmoor Road
  • Hurricane Way
  • Woodley Town Centre
  • Reading Road / Howth Drive
  • Woodford Park (3)
  • Kingfisher Drive.

Boiler replacement at the Oakwood Centre

The existing boilers have been in situ since the building opened in 2004 and have exceeded their expected lifespan. The Council is investing in energy efficient gas boilers that will improve the energy efficiency of the building and provide more effective space heating, providing more comfort for users of the Centre. 

Refurbishment of toilets at the Oakwood Centre

This project will completely refurbish the public toilets in the Oakwood Centre to a high standard in order to continue to drive business, attract more customers and provide better and more accessible facilities for the public and hirers, while also adhering to new Building Regulations and our commitment to climate change.  

Oakwood Centre front

Replacement of flatbed pickup

To purchase a used flatbed pickup to replace the current vehicle which, at 22 years old, now requires significant repair and will likely continue to need further repairs. A large flatbed vehicle is essential for moving large items around the Council’s facilities and parks. 

Replacement of safety surfacing at Malone Park

Some of the existing surface around the play equipment at Malone Park has deteriorated and can no longer be effectively repaired. The new surfacing will be fully compliant with ROSPA requirements and will provide a safer surface for children to use.

malone park Woodley

An external water refill station at Woodford Park Leisure Centre

The Council will install a mains fed water bottle refill station on an exterior wall of Woodford Park Leisure Centre for use by the public. This is to encourage increased water consumption and the use of refillable water bottles, reducing the use of single use plastic bottles. 

Replacement of the heating system at Woodford Park Leisure Centre

To replace the 30-year-old heating system at the Leisure Centre with a new, more energy efficient radiant heating system, as recommended by Sports England as the most cost-effective option and most suitable for the building and its purpose.

woodford park leisure centre

Full details of all of these projects can be found in the Strategy & Resources Agenda Pack, dated 12th September 2023, which is available on our website:

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