Wiltshire Publications

Library should be turned into community hub?

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LOCAL resident, Dr Peter Biggs, has again brought forward the idea of turning Westbury Library into a community hub, asking the town council to look into ways of funding the project.  

Westbury was not included in Wiltshire Council’s  investment of over £80million in local campuses and community hubs for towns in Wiltshire. As a result, Dr Peter Biggs is asking that the town council  raises funds to turn Westbury Library into a community hub. 

His idea has been brought forward again following  the success of a similar project, run by the Westbury Community Project and headteacher of Westbury Junior Richard Hatt, who have raised  funds to develop the old youth centre site. 

At the town council meeting on Monday 7th January, Dr Peter Biggs said during the public forum, “If the headteacher of Westbury Junior School can raise a large sum of money to take over the old youth centre, why is it that the town council cannot put in to operation a task and finish group to actually look at improving and making the library a community hub?

“It is in an ideal position and has the space and volume to do this, all we need is the money to do it. 

“There has been a suggestion that it will cost £1.1million, which is obviously unrealistic, but there must be some things, some group here, that can actually look at and find funds from other organisations who can fund this.”

The White Horse News approached the town council, asking if this idea was viable. Town clerk, Deborah Urch said, “We are not currently considering this and there are a number of dependencies. These include: Westbury Town Council resolving to take on the library. We would need to undertake a feasibility study to understand the condition of the building. The cost to upgrade, maintain and run the building into the future. The level of income we could realistically expect. Also, Wiltshire Council being willing to dispose of the asset. The timescale for Wiltshire to discuss the transfer of assets and services is 2020. Consultation with the public, as there would likely be an impact on the precept. Finally, raising grants/ crowd funding/ sponsorship from partners.”

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