Austerity measures kicked in at the Marlborough Area Board meeting when several grant applicants saw their requested funding slashed.

This financial year, the board has £41,691 to distribute to local causes – a reduction from last year’s figure of £45,000.

All but one of the four applicants saw their funding reduced by 50 per cent – with Ogbourne St George and St Andrew primary school’s request for £3,482 towards updating play facilities being the only one to be given the full amount asked for.

Wiltshire Councillor James Sheppard, who sits on the Marlborough Area Board, said: “I would be very wary of handing out a lot of money at the beginning of the year.

“It would be nice if we had an open cheque book and could say yes to everybody, but we are wary of other projects coming through, and we want to make sure everyone has an equal chance throughout the year.”

Ramsbury Recreation Centre asked for £3,000 for new storage space, Marlborough Cricket Club requested £4,000 for new mowers and Marlborough Rugby Club put in an application for £4,000 towards the extension of it social area.

All three clubs had already knocked at least £1,000 off their funding application prior to the meeting on the advice of Marlborough community area manager Andrew Jack.

Chairman of Marlborough Cricket Club Simon Wells said: “In trying to help the area board we deferred our application from the last meeting back in March to try and assist with what was then end of year funding issues.

“We do feel we contribute a lot to the community and have done over a long period of time.

“We did apply to Marlborough Town Council for some other money that we required and that was turned down. Hear-say has it that we were turned down because we’re more than 15 minutes away from the school, which doesn’t sit very comfortably with the fact they are using our ground.

“That has put us under financial constraint because money that might have helped towards the gang mowers will now have to be spent elsewhere. The recommendation from the town council was to apply to the area board.

“Obviously we are disappointed but we recognise the [area board’s] support and we are grateful.”