Campus vision is finally taking shape for Wiltshire Council
Updated 11:59am Thursday 19th June 2014 in By Joanne Moore
When Wiltshire Council was created five years ago, it inherited scores of buildings but most of these are being sold off to leave three main hubs in Chippenham, Trowbridge and Salisbury.
What does the future hold as the council pushes ahead with its plans for campuses?
In Devizes the old Kennet District Council offices, which have been on the market since 2012, could be sold for housing. The council had originally pledged to sell Browfort to a buyer who would create jobs but so far there has been little interest.
Council leader Jane Scott said: “We put an economic development use on the site but it is getting to the stage where will talk to the area board about considering other options and housing is likely to be a possibility.”
She is pleased with the new council one-stop shop in Snuff Street in the town.
Coun Scott said: “It has proved very popular. Browfort was a bit out of town but the new shop front is right in the centre and is particularly busy on market day on Thursday.
“People can speak to the registrar, pay bills and get whatever information they need. It is not just well used by Devizes people but from those out in the villages.”
Plans are coming together to create a community campus in Pewsey on land next to the leisure centre and Pewsey Vale School.
Coun Scott said: “The plan for Pewsey is coming on well.
“It makes sense for most things to go up on that land and it is likely to come on stream within the next three years.”
She said the library in Pewsey was new so it would remain in its present position but as many other services as possible would move to the school site.
As yet Marlborough has no clear plan for creating a campus in the town. Coun Scott said people in Marlborough seemed happy with the position of the sports centre and it was lucky to have excellent facilities that could be used by the community at the new St John’s School and at Marlborough College.
She said: “There has been some talk about creating a theatre or arts centre in the town but I am not sure the need is really there because of what is available at the school and the college.”
Chippenham Chippenham could get a revamped swimming pool if a community campus is created at Monkton Park and the council offices and Olympiad Leisure Centre are linked.
Consultation has started on possible plans to move the library to the site. Coun Scott said: “I think Chippenham could be one of our most exciting developments. Monkton Park is a very attractive area with the river and parkland.
“It is easy to access from the town centre and some of the changes are already working very well.
“We have started work on the building to create more space and the police have settled in as well.”
She said changes made to the Olympiad a couple of years ago to create space for adults with learning disabilities in the studio room during the day and for youth activities in the evening had worked well after some initial worries from users.
She was keen for The Bridge Centre site in the centre of the town to be redeveloped as soon as possible for shops and possibly a hotel and she praised the work of Chippenham Vision and Cherish Chippenham which are pushing hard to get this end of the town revitalised.
In Calne the council wants to eventually try and create a campus near John Bentley School and the community run leisure centre but discussions are still in the very early stages. Coun Scott said: “Calne has some good leisure facilities at Beversbrook and the community has done well running the leisure centre but this could probably do with some investment.
“The library is quite new but I think we need to find ways for it to be better used.
“We are probably some way off getting any firm plans for a campus in Calne.”
Malmesbury is another town with no rush to create a campus. It has a popular leisure centre next to the town’s senior school and the library is already in a good spot.
Coun Scott said: “Malmesbury is a town already quite happy with what it has got. It even has a skate park.
“But, like all the towns, we will be speaking to other organisations such as the police and health to see how we can work together.”
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