Wiltshire Publications

Community hub could help regenerate library

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WESTBURY’S library could see a complete regeneration including the building of a new community and arts hub extension, under exciting town council plans.

The redevelopment of the town library is to be the ‘priority project’ for the council’s Vision for Westbury (VFW). 

As part of plans to regenerate Westbury town centre, the council hopes to develop the library into an ‘arts and community hub’. This would involve a large double story extension  at the rear of the building to provide a cafe and performance area, together with workspace and a centre for local history and tourism, similar to one in Trowbridge.

The library could also be adapted for additional uses including the possibility of creating a point of contact for the local police. 

Speaking at the recent VFW meeting, cllr Jane Russ said, “We have been looking at the library as a potential proper hub for a while now. We have always felt that a library in a community is a crucial fixture and the current building as it stands, is not a particularly good library, but if we were to extend the back of it, the library itself could become regenerated.” 

Funding for the project could include an application to the Government’s “Levelling Up” scheme, which aims to provide large-scale funding opportunities to local authorities or failing that, from ‘one public estate’ (OPE) funding. OPE funding is awarded to support the use of publicly-owned land and buildings with the intention of creating shared public-sector hubs. 

VFW committee chair, cllr Russ, read out communications she had received from Wiltshire Council on this matter saying, “As long as there is an intent by public sector partners to consider the potential for a new combined facility, then OPE funding could be used. If you can reach such an intent agreement with the police, we could potentially submit an application.” 

She added, “Now this was because when we were looking here at the Laverton, when work was done in the reading room, we were hoping this would facilitate use by the police as a sort of hub and I think we were rather disappointed shall we say by the actual response.”