Wiltshire Publications

Issue 455 – Blue plaque trail gets council backing

WESTBURY will soon have a blue plaque trail in the town, marking buildings of historical interest, after receiving funding for a scheme.

At a meeting of the town council’s general purposes committee on Monday 1st February the members voted to back the idea, which was proposed at the Westbury Area Board in November.
The town council will provide £1,500 towards an initial ten plaques for the scheme, with match funding coming from the Westbury Area Board.
The scheme will involve attaching blue plaques at places of historical interest denoting the historical importance of the building. The hope is that the plaques will highlight the history of the town to residents and visitors alike, and raise Westbury’s profile.
Westbury Mayor, cllr Sue Ezra said, “I think this is one way of raising the profile of the town. We have a lot of interesting buildings that have a lot of history in Westbury. I feel it may encourage more people into the town, and children in schools may do projects to learn something about where they live.”
Some of the buildings that could be considered for blue plaques include Westbury Swimming Pool, the oldest working swimming pool in the country dating from 1887, The Laverton, which dates from 1873 and Westbury Railway Station, which opened in 1848. The owners of all the buildings would have to consent to having a plaque placed on their property.
Stephen Andrews, chairman of Westbury Town Council general purposes committee said, “I was recently wandering around Bradford on Avon where they have a blue plaque scheme and found them a striking feature, with a wealth of information. I think they would be really useful here.”
The cost of the initial phase of the scheme, to pay for ten plaques, is estimated at £3,000. The town council has agreed to fund half of this cost, and has received match funding via a grant from the Westbury Area Board.
Wiltshire councillor David Jenkins, who sits on the area board said, “I think it’s an excellent idea and is something that works well in other towns, Warminster have one for example. I think it would generate local interest from a historic point of view. We have a lot of buildings around the town that people don’t know the history of. It may also hopefully bring some people into the town to help stimulate local businesses.”
Cllr Jenkins added that he hoped residents would come forward with their suggestions for buildings that could feature in the blue plaque trail.