A final positive plea goes out to boost Marlborough town hall revamp project
A final plea seeking support for Marlborough town council’s imaginative plans to revamp the town hall has gone out to residents with just days to go to the end of the official consultation period.
New Year’s Eve is the last day for the return of comments on the project by taking advantage of the detailed leaflet delivered to every house weeks before Christmas outlining the proposed future for the 1902 town hall that stands at the top of the High Street.
The aim is to make it more the focus of Marlborough life and to save money by moving the town council offices back into the building and raising revenue by either letting or selling the current offices.
But the plan has been bedevilled by six Tory councillors who have been accused of issuing a “misleading” leaflet listing six allegedly vital facts - only one of which is true, and claiming that it will create a “massive debt” burden, though the costs are well within the council’s £400,000 annual budget.
And also by launching a petition against the scheme, some Tory councillors standing outside Tesco to seek shoppers’ signatures.
These events stem from the fact that the revamp is being financed by a low interest rate public loans board loan, which will cost £1 million overall but whose annual repayment is well within the council’s budget resources, as repeatedly set out by retired accountant Councillor Andrew Ross, chairman of the council’s finance committee.
“What is remarkable and strange is that the so-called campaign flies totally in the face of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s own policy of investment and job creation, which is exactly what the project will bring to Marlborough,” Councillor Richard Pitts, another committee chairman, told Marlborough News Online.
“This is a typical of the positive ideas the coalition government has been urgently urging local councils to take on to boost the economy in these difficult times, and all part of David Cameron’s big society stimulus.”
“Why these six councillors think they supporting their own party by their actions is, quite honestly, bonkers. They are simply renegades who continually criticise and knock down most of the positive ideas the council proposes.”
In any case, Marlborough town council is not registered as a political authority under local government legislation, its members acknowledging the needs of the town coming before any party political affiliations, as is the case in most parish and town councils across the country.
The council has already attracted more than £250,000, some towards the cost of the revamp of the Edwardian town hall, high tech facilities now available in the vaulted assembly hall for a range of events, and the town hall entrance improved with new steps.
“It is very disappointing that these councillors have been collecting signatures for a petition,” added Councillor Pitts.
“It would have been far more sensible to urge people to fill out the official town council survey forms and return them instead of being so negative.”