Wiltshire Publications

Westbury wants to keep Victorian pool

PEOPLE living in the Westbury community have voted overwhelmingly to keep the town’s Victorian swimming pool, library and sports centre, in the second round of the campus consultation.

The option to use the three existing sites was one of three choices presented to the town in last year’s consultation for a community campus in Westbury. 80% voted for the three site campus, the only option which included the town’s Victorian swimming pool.

The consultation attracted more than 1,000 responses, and Westbury Area Board says that the consultation was  one of the best in the county, using several ways for people to comment including collection boxes, online surveys and a stall at the Christmas fayre.

The Community Operations Board (COB), the steering group behind the campus development, reports that 810 people had voted for option one (a three site campus); 106 for option two (a two site campus) and 89 for option three – a one site new-build campus.

However, the consultation continues to face criticism for a lack of detail. While the option of a three site campus using existing buildings was easy to understand, the option of a new single site campus lacked crucial details such as a location and budget.

The full results of the consultation, along with some of the comments people made when consulted, will be presented at the area board meeting on Thursday 6th February at the Leigh Park Community Centre. A working proposal will then be developed and presented to the board later this year.

According to the consultation, a three site campus would redistribute council services and facilities across the swimming pool, Leighton Recreation Centre, and the library (library refurbished with an extension, including provision for a lift, to allow for more efficient and accessible use of the upper floors).

The youth services would be provided across all the campus sites, and a suitable alternative owner or use would be found for the vacated youth centre building.

The Community Operations Board says that a three-site campus will not simply retain existing facilities, but offer a chance to improve and develop services for the town.

Brenda Pyne, of the Community Operations Board said, “We had a good number of responses [to the consultation], and we’re really delighted with that. And you could not interpret it any other way – they were very, very keen to protect the historic buildings in the town and enhance what we have.

“There are a lot of comments, and we will be having a look through them, and taking all that on board.

“The COB will be talking to all of the services who may be using the facilities. There are a core of facilities on each ‘campus’ already, but we’re looking at what other services we can incorporate into these buildings. We’ll be talking to them about what they want, what they need, the space they need, what their aspirations are.

“People will be thinking ‘they’ll just slap on some paint,’ but we are looking to really enhance what we already have and make it something special. It won’t just be doing up what we have, it will be improving and adding on it.

“For example, with the library, we are going to have to at least put in a lift, because we need to use the upper floors.”