Wiltshire Publications

Westbury needs ‘moving up the queue’ for sports facilities

A LOCAL councillor has called for more investment in the town’s sports facilities as he says Westbury is being left behind other towns.

Town and Wiltshire councillor Matthew Dean has called for investment from Wiltshire Council to improve Westbury Swimming Pool and Leighton Recreation Centre and wants Westbury to get a ‘fair slice of the pie’.

Melksham’s £20million campus opened last year and in May of this year, Wiltshire Council revealed plans for a £25million leisure centre for Trowbridge which will include a six lane, 25 metre swimming pool, a gym with 120 exercise stations, an adventure play area for young people and a live well suite which will provide a dedicated space for older residents to exercise.

Cllr Dean says that neighbouring towns in the county have received significant investment by Wiltshire Council in recent years, while Westbury has seen little.

He is calling for Westbury to also get extra investment or risk being left behind other towns in the county.

“A new sports centre is being built in Trowbridge and there is a very good sports centres in Melksham, Salisbury and other local towns but the facilities in Westbury haven’t had any money for the past 12 years or so,” he said. “It’s a real shame that Westbury is being left behind with regards to this and I think Westbury needs to be moved up the queue so we can see some investment into our sports facilities.

“I don’t begrudge any of the other towns for getting funding, but I want Westbury to get a slice of the pie and get a fair chunk of investment, just like the other towns. After 12 years without any major investment in our sports facilities, I think the time has come to see how we can enhance and improve what we already have which is the key, rather than undertake wholesale changes.

Immediate upgrading

“I think we need to invest in our existing facilities and improve what we already have. While both Leighton Recreation Centre and Westbury Swimming Pool are cherished parts of the town, they both need immediate upgrading.

“The reality is that if we had more and better sports facilities, it’s very likely to have a positive impact on our public health priorities, there would be less anti-social behaviour and an increased sense of community.”

Wiltshire Council says that it has plans to convert a room at Leighton Recreation Centre into a free weights area, as well as plans to improve the swimming pool.

Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, cabinet member for leisure said, “The council is developing the strategy for the maintenance and development of its leisure facilities, which will guide investment decisions across our 20 centres to best serve all our urban and rural communities.

“Plans presented by the manager of Leighton Recreation Centre to convert a room in the facility into a free weights area have been approved recently and plans to improve the pool hall surrounds in Westbury Pool are being developed.

“While other authorities are closing facilities, all of Wiltshire’s remain open and thriving along with an investment programme to maintain safety and compliance and improve the offer across all our communities.”=