Unitary councillors respond to Marlborough's continued omission from Wiltshire Council's spending on its campus programme
The Marlborough.News report that Wiltshire Council's budget for 2017-2018 contains £6.4million for more campuses and community hubs when Marlborough was told there was no more money, has so far brought comments from three of the area's four Wiltshire councillors.
The report also highlighted the fact that Wiltshire Council was expecting the Town Council to pay for repairs and refurbishment of the Youth Centre, which Wiltshire was offering to the town on a seven year lease at a peppercorn rate.
The full budget for Wiltshire Council's campus programme is set at £80 million - and much of it has already been spent on new facilities in towns across the county.
Councillor Jemima Milton (representing West Selkley - the villages west of Marlborough) wrote that she was "Frustrated and very cross, after all the work by volunteers that went into looking at campuses, only to be told there was no point continuing as there were no funds available, we couldn't even tap into money from new developments."
"Now there appears to be money available, but where it's to be spent isn't clear."
Councillor Nick Fogg (representing Marlborough West) wrote to Marlborough.News: "It is disgraceful that Marlborough has been passed over in this way. I attended a number of meetings about the provision of a Community Access Centre and suggested that the first priority was to identify potential sites."
"When there was no follow-up on this, I came to the conclusion that we were wasting our time. Nothing was going to happen."
"That Wiltshire now expects the people of Marlborough to pay for the refurbishment of the Youth Centre is insulting in the light of the failure to address the issue of wider community facilities here."
"Whatever deterioration that has occurred to that building has happened under Wiltshire's tutelage. It has languished for years. Unless the costs are horrendous though, I am very much in favour of Marlborough taking this back, so that it can be placed in the hands of a sound and creative management."
Councillor Stewart Dobson (representing Marlborough East) wrote: "I understand that the figure of £6.4 million in the budget that you refer to is only for Campus and Community Hub projects already in the pipeline."
"I share the disappointment from local residents that the Marlborough Area has not yet been included in Campus or Community Hub projects that other areas in the County have or will benefit from."
"When I was elected to Wiltshire Council in 2013 I was surprised and disappointed to find that the Marlborough area was very low on the list to be considered for a Campus. The priority list having already been agreed."
"If re-elected in May I will continue to do all that I can to make sure that Marlborough and the surrounding Area are included in future Campus or Community Hub Schemes as I believe that it makes sound financial sense to incorporate as many local services as possible under one roof."
"With regard to the old Youth Centre which I proposed that the Town Council should express an interest in taking over, I share their concern that at the moment the Town Council have only been offered a seven year lease with a peppercorn rent with responsibility for repairs and not a Community Asset Transfer."
"If, as I hope, the Town Council feel that this building would be a valuable asset to the life of the town, especially for youth provision, it would make sense when possible to press to convert the lease into a full Asset Transfer."