Local people are to get the chance to plan the future of Wiltshire Council’s services in Westbury, such as the town’s sports centre, swimming pool, library and youth centre, as first steps are taken towards a campus development for the town.
The Westbury Area Board is kick-starting the project with a special presentation at its meeting on Thursday 16th February. Volunteers will be invited to join a community operations board which will look both at what services a campus might need to serve the town and villages, and also where it might be situated.
Campus developments, where services are housed in one or two locations, has been going on across the county with developments in Melksham and Calne already well under way. Westbury was not due to be discussed until the end of next year, but area board members made a special plea for the campus project in Westbury to be started as soon as possible.
Area board chairman Julie Swabey said, “We know local people are committed to ensuring services are kept just where they are needed, as well as underlining the importance of keeping the town centre alive. We were keen to start the ball rolling and get the discussions started about where a campus might best serve local people.”
The presentation on Thursday 16th February will explain the planning process for campus development and take a look at other similar projects in the county – some are on single sites while other communities have opted for two, or a split site.
People attending the area board will also get the chance to hear more about the findings of the recent Westbury Forward planning event which looked at the needs and priorities for the community.
The area board is also working hard to try and clean up Westbury’s best known landmark – the grubby White Horse. One of seven grant applications being considered by the board at the meeting on Thursday will be an application for £5,000 towards cleaning up the hill figure in time for the Jubilee celebrations. The area board is working with Westbury Town Council which is also pledging £5,000 towards the project.
Julie Swabey commented, “The White Horse has become so grey and dirty, it is hard to distinguish it as a landmark and it is sad to see her in such a poor state.
“It is not so simple a matter as just getting out there with paint, as English Heritage, who owns the horse, needs to give permission for the cleaning, but only after full health and safety checks have been carried out. Hopefully working together with the town council and groups who have offered to help with its brush up will see the horse finally white again.”
Other grant applications will include funding for the construction of bus stops on a route to serve the new primary care centre at Leigh Park.
The area board is now taking applications for the next round of grant funding – if you would like to know more, please contact community area manager Sally Hendry on 01373 864714 or visit the website where you can find the grant application form and see whether your project might be eligible for cash help. Community groups who are planning celebrations to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee may also be eligible for funding.
The area board on Thursday 16th February is open to everyone. It will be held at the Dilton Marsh Social Club, off Petticoat Lane. The meeting starts at 7.00pm but there are refreshments from 6.30pm. You can see the full agenda for the meeting on the website at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/areaboards.
There are 18 area boards in Wiltshire, providing the link between Wiltshire Council and the local community. The Westbury area board has four elected councillors representing the area. They are Julie Swabey (Ethandune), Mike Cuthbert-Murray (Westbury East) David Jenkins (Westbury North) and Russell Hawker (Westbury West). If you would like to know more about the work of the area board, would like to raise a local issue or get more information about grants, please contact your local councillor, call the community area manager or visit the website at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/areaboards