A HUGE project to transform a centre into a community hub in Southcote gets underway next week.

Southcote Community Centre on Coronation Square will be extended as part of a £550,000 project to include modern facilities, a children's centre and play area.

Construction on the 1960s building will start on Monday and the scheme is expected to be completed by the autumn.

The single-storey extension will include a new main entrance and reception desk and upgraded library facilities for community use.

Councillor Liz Terry, lead member for neighbourhoods, said: “The new Southcote Community Hub will provide a more spacious and welcoming reception for customers, flexible spaces to accommodate diverse community activities, a contemporary library, a private meeting room and enhance the children’s centre.

“The centre will also include the IT Training room, improved outdoor space and better storage and kitchen facilities.

“Overall, the Southcote Community Hub will provide good quality community space for local groups and organisations combined with a range of important and popular local services all in one building.”

Reading Borough Council warned that no new bookings can be made, although the current children's centre will remain open during the upgrades.

A new external fire door will give access to a communal garden and all-weather play surface for families to enjoy in the summer months.

These plans were approved by the council's policy committee in July 2016 as part of the Library Service Review project.

Councillor Deborah Edwards, chair of Southcote IT Experience (SITE), added: “SITE have plans to offer not only a range of courses and activities to add to the current programme but there will be new ones starting as soon as the work is completed.

“It is an exciting future for the Southcote Community Hub.”

The upgraded centre will also house a multi-purpose IT training room, which will allow the space to be converted to accommodate additional library facilities.

The council revealed unpopular proposals to cut library opening hours in February, although Southcote was the only one to avoid the axe.

It is hoped the reduced hours will save more than £200,000 per year.