Berkshire

Reading Central Club: Group boosted by mural protection

Mural 2
Image caption Community groups have previously held protests about the mural, claiming it is under threat.

Members of a community group have said they may stand in local council elections in a row over the fate of their "spiritual home".

Reading Central Club, which sports a listed mural, has been put up for sale.

Activists have said they will field candidates in next year's local elections if Reading Borough Council was "unwilling to meet the needs" of the community.

The council said it was "fully committed" to preserving the artwork.

It put the club, which was closed in 2006, up for sale earlier this year after take-over bids from community groups failed.

Activists, who will meet next month to discuss a new bid, said they were "buoyed massively" after the mural was granted listed status.

Keith Kerr, chairman of the community company Aspire CIC, told the BBC members would analyse the "terms and conditions" of a deal before drawing up a fresh bid.

Image caption The 36m-long artwork was painted on the side of Reading Central Club in 1990

The company previously offered to buy the club, which members claim is the community's "spiritual home", at "fair market value" as part of a £10m investment package.

Mr Kerr warned if the council was "unwilling to meet the needs" of the community, it would "put up its own candidates" to challenge councillors in the area in the 2018 elections.

He added: "We will fight to the death for it and for us to own it again as a resource for the community."

Jo Lovelock, leader of Reading Borough Council, previously said protecting the mural reinforced the authority's "standpoint" that it was "fully committed" to preserving the artwork.

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