Now it is YOUR chance to see the town hall improvements and give your views
A major four-day consultation exercise is to be launched on Monday to give Marlborough residents a chance to express their views on continuing plans to revamp the historic town hall.
The aim is to seek support for the council’s project to make improvements that will enable better use to be made of the building, in particular providing better value for money for local council taxpayers.
And it is being carried out against a backdrop of controversial claims that the council wants to dump the million pound plus cost on local residents, which have been proved to be totally fallacious.
More than £250,000 in grants and donations have enabled the council to carry out already highly visible improvements to the town hall entrance and in particular to the assembly hall, now fitted with big screen and sound facilities first used at the time of the Royal Wedding in April.
And the improvements will be staged over time, as and when the finance, partly through low interest Public Loan Board finance now extensively used by Wiltshire Council and town councils throughout the county, becomes available.
As from Monday, residents will now have their chance to see in detail plans of the proposed further changes, bringing into action former unusable areas, to make their own suggestions -- and to give their views on the project.
Councillor Guy Loosmore, chairman of the council’s Property Committee, which has masterminded the plan, told Marlborough News Online: "This is an exciting proposal to transform the use of the building into a living, breathing focal point for the community.”
“And at the same time we want Marlborough town council’s activities to be open seven days a week while at the same time maintaining the heritage of this iconic landmark.”
“We hope that many people will come in to see our proposals and respond to the consultation. This plan is about turning the building into one that is fit for the future of this town”
The consultation event will be held in the town hall over four days from Monday to Thursday next week.
An exhibition will be on view between 10.30am and 4:00pm, and on the evenings of 23 and 24 November between 7.00pm and 9.00pm
“We shall also be mailing out a leaflet to all households in the town asking informing them of the proposals and asking for comments,” said town clerk Liam Costello.
It is approximately 100 years since the last major work was undertaken on the town hall and the building was in a state of neglect when this council came to power in 2007.
“Slowly and surely we have moved to allow the building to command respect in the town,” said former property committee chairman Councillor Richard Pitts. “I started not long after taking office to seek funds to do just that.”
“Councillor Loosmore took my work forward very positively. The new steps replaced badly worn access and discretely created disabled access to the court room area in a way which is completely inclusive.”
An essential part of the project is to transfer the council’s current offices at No 5 High Street back to the town hall by bringing unusable areas back into action, then renting out No 5 to add to the council’s income stream.
And it is hoped that all future elections, parliamentary and council, will again be held in the town hall in the heart of Marlborough.
“This council has a good track record of consultation,” added Councillor Pitts. “We hope as many people as possible will visit the town hall and see the plans.”
“We will listen, take onboard the community’s view and develop and enhance the project based on those views. We are keen to show how we can extend on the work to date, which has been overwhelmingly well received.”
“We hope to show with this public consultation what careful considered design can produce in a sustainable way, which enhances the building, reduces its operating costs, and allows flexible spaces which can be used in many ways to contribute to the life of the community.”