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We have nothing to hide over Marlborough town hall improvements

A major exhibition and consultation exercise will be carried out by Marlborough Town Council in September, to give residents the opportunity to air their views on controversial improvement plans for the town hall building.

Councillor Guy Loosmore (pictured), chair of the council’s Property Committee, gave the assurance last night (Monday) when he referred to incorrect reports and complained that the council was being “mocked” as it might be losing £40,000 a year on the project.

Some residents have threatened to call a town referendum on the proposals, financed through the Public Works Loan Board and said to cost £1 million in total, because they fear the cost will result in a council tax increase, currently frozen by the government.

“We are not a profit and loss organisation,” said Councillor Loosmore. “We are not here to make a profit like a company. We are creating a project for the benefit of the community. All views will be taken into consideration.”

He pointed out that the Assembly Hall had already been revamped, and had been initially open up to residents for the royal wedding celebrations. Now it was available for income-raising conferences and weddings.

Repairs to the town hall’s steps were also due to be completed shortly and there were proposals for repainting the town hall frontage.

“We don’t wish to hide anything,” he added. “It is a very complex project. We want to show that it is logical and feasible.”

“We will be criticised if we do not do it properly and ensure that everyone knows what is going on. We need to present the whole picture and show that we want to get it right.”

Councillor Peggy Dow warned that residents were likely to seek a referendum if the scheme, which includes opening up the dungeon area below the building, did not provide alternatives and was not carried out in phases.

But Councillor Richard Pitts was positive in his reaction, declaring: “What’s happening is exciting news. It’s great.”

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