Wiltshire Publications

Issue 441 – Strong start for new Area Board

A POSITIVE response has been received after the first ever meeting of Westbury’s new Area Board.
Over 80 people attended the meeting, held at the Labour club’s Paragon Hall on Wednesday 23rd July. Comments left by members of the public at the end of the meeting included “a meaningful meeting,” “a good start,” and “well organised.”
The board represents the local arm of the new unitary Wiltshire Council. After explaining the roles and functions of the new authority the meeting, chaired by cllr Russell Hawker, dealt with the biggest issues currently affecting the town including; what will happen now the eastern bypass has been refused; the proposed improvements of Maristow Street and the High Street rotunda; and the location of Westbury’s main post office.
Cllr Hawker said, “I feel very good about the meeting. I’ve now seen the results of the evaluation and individual comments that people made and ours was a good meeting; well in the upper half of responses across the county.”
The councillor said he was very pleased with the turnout and the quality of the contributions made by both the partners (council officers and representatives) and the public.
Despite an overall positive response, the meeting was not without controversy, with some who attended feeling that the final item on the agenda, the location of Westbury’s post office, was not given the time it deserved.
Cllr Hawker said, “I know I’ve been criticised for cutting the last item short but when you’ve lost an hour to presentations and there’s a number of issues to be discussed, you have to control the meeting.
“I do think that we did cover it adequately and I don’t believe we would have gained anything from hearing any more views.”

Future priorities

The public in attendance were asked to highlight six issues that they considered to be of the highest priority in the area. These will be the key focus points for the area board over the coming months. They were, in priority order:
• A350 traffic relief in Westbury.
• Pedestrian crossing over A350 Warminster Road in Westbury by Cedar Hotel
• Location of the Westbury main post office.
• Re-opening Westbury Police Station’s enquiries desk.
• Town centre improvements: Implementing the Vision for Westbury to improve the shopping system, sorting the direction of single- way traffic into a more logical arrangement.
• Tackling anti-social behaviour in the town centre; possible alcohol ban in public areas. 

The area board has at its disposal a £22,246 fund for community grant allocations per year. The maximum amount for a single donation is £5,000.
The full criteria required for grant applications can be found here: http://tiny.cc/grants895
Applications must be received a minimum of six weeks before the relevant area board meeting and will only be considered if the application fulfils the criteria and all the necessary information has been received.
The venue for the next meeting is still to be confirmed but it will be held on Wednesday 16th September at 7.00pm. This replaces the previously published 22nd October meeting date.