Approval vote for Chippenham’s campus site
A hub for community services in Chippenham will almost certainly be based at Wiltshire Council’s offices.
The Monkton Park site was proposed as the Chippenham Community Campus location at the town’s area board meeting on Monday and was unanimously supported by the board’s councillors.
There is no figure for how much it will cost to create, or an expected date for its opening, but some redundant council buildings are expected to be sold to help pay for it.
The campus could improve leisure facilities at the Olympiad and link the building with the council offices next door, whose front entrance would face the river.
It would house facilities for large conferences and arts performances as well as a library and space for charities, elderly people, those with disabilities, the voluntary sector, and partners such as Wiltshire College and Citizens’ Advice Bureau.
Pauline Monaghan, chief executive of the Rise Trust, said it could provide “enhanced facilites that will reach the disadvantaged and the dispossessed”.
Wiltshire Council leader Jane Scott said £124million was earmarked for campus developments, with Chippenham’s one of the next due to be created. To help meet costs redundant buildings could be sold.
The library, where it is at the moment, could be sold,” she said.
Councillor Desna Allen was assured by the team there were no plans to sell off the Neeld Hall, which had been inherited by the town council.
And town councillor Mary Fallon said: “A lot of people come into the library on the bus; they won’t like you moving it away from the bus station.”
The grounds of Chippenham College had been considered as the campus location. But team chairman Ian Bridges said: “Clearly a town centre location, and one location, were both priorities.
“Things fell into place when we were bold enough to ask if we’d be able to use Monkton Park and, to our surprise, the feedback from the council was very positive.”
Chris Caswill, Wiltshire councillor for Monkton, said: “I think you will have a challenge to persuade people that Monkton Park is the centre of the town, and I think there will be resistance to moving the library. Wiltshire College have set the provision of conference facilities as their objective, so it is important to collaborate with them.”
He also warned that currently it was a struggle to find a parking space at the proposed site and they were all at the higher level.
“But with those provisos, I think this is an excellent proposal and I wish it well,” he said.
CDT chairman Ian Bridges said he could not make any promises but said accessibility would be high on the agenda and hoped there would be a lift operating from riverside level.
The public will now be given a second chance to give views and these will be considered by the area board by next March.
Corsham was included in the first phase of campuses approved by Wiltshire’s cabinet and its £10m project is due to be completed next October.
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