THE concept of a single site campus for Westbury, as presented in the campus consultation, leaves too many questions unanswered, say local people.
The campus consultation is currently asking people to choose between three options: council facilities across three sites (the existing pool, library and Leighton Recreation Centre); facilities across two sites (the library and Leighton Recreation Centre); or a new build single site.
Residents say that the first option, of maintaining the existing facilities is easy to understand. But the option of a single site campus would drastically reshape the town by relocating current facilities to a new building, and such a move would be at the expense of the town’s much-loved Victorian swimming pool, town centre library, and Leighton Recreation Centre.
And the steering group for the campus development explains that no site has been identified, no budget set, and even ‘the deliverability is not known’ – which residents say leaves them with very few details which makes it difficult to choose an option.
Neil Tribick, secretary of Westbury Amateur Swimming Club said, “The survey suggests the council will look at a site for option 3 [single site campus] if the community votes for it. It should be the other way round.
“The council should say where the location could be, then the community could vote objectively (in principle in the absence of full details of the new hub complex and its specification). At the moment we are being asked to vote for something we know intimately, against two other options about which we know nothing beyond concept.
“While that is the case, Westbury Swimming Club will continue to support the present pool to ensure continuation of swimming for all our members.”
Westbury Town councillor Mike Sutton said, “We are being asked to look at options without supporting evidence of how it would work. Where is the associated transport plan for options 2 [two site campus] and 3 [single site]?
“We need to know if buses will be available and at a what frequency, as we do not want to end up again with the transport available to the White Horse surgery where public transport is infrequent and erratic.
“Asking us to choose and the transport will follow is not acceptable – indeed, I doubt anyone would believe assurances that it will be sorted after the decision.”
The idea of a single site was presented alongside two other options at the meeting of Westbury Area Board last month, where some members of the public greeted the idea as “completely nebulous.”
“Without telling people where such a site might be, how can they decide if it’s acceptable or not?” one person commented, while another dismissed the idea straight away as “totally unrealistic.”
Initial feedback at the meeting showed that 64% of attendees prefered the three site option, with only 24% in support of the single-site option.
But the Community Operations Board has asked residents to consider all three options, asking the town to consider the concept rather than the details, saying that information such as site, budget and a full list of facilities can only take shape at a later stage.
Have your say
The single site is one of three options for a campus development in Westbury, which will include council-run facilities alongside other services. People in Westbury are now asked to respond and vote on which option they would like to see proceed.
All three options include a library service, indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, youth services, and the neighbourhood policing team. Other elements would include meeting rooms, a clinical room, multi-purpose activity spaces, hot desk spaces for Wiltshire Council staff, children’s play space, and computers.
Option 1 would redistribute services across three sites: Leighton Recreation Centre, a refurbished library, and the Victorian swimming pool.
Option 2 would see facilities split between an extended library and Leighton Recreation Centre (which would also house a new 25m pool). An ‘alternative use’ would be found for the Victorian Pool building.
Option 3 would look to provide a single site campus of all current facilities, ‘within accessible and easy reach of the town centre.’ No site has been identified.
The consultation is available online at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/westburycommunitycampus
A paper copy of the consultation is available from various locations across the town, and can be submitted in drop off boxes in locations including the library, town council offices, swimming pool, Leighton Recreation Centre, and the Heritage Centre.
The consultation closes in November.
• What do you think? Let us know: email firstname.lastname@example.org or post a letter to the editor to 31 Market Place, Melksham, SN12 6ES.