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Shock in Marlborough as Wiltshire Council budgets millions more for campus projects

Written by Tony Millett on .

County Hall, TrowbridgeCounty Hall, TrowbridgeWiltshire Council's budget for 2017-2018 was approved at Tuesday's full meeting of the Council (February 21) at County Hall in Trowbridge  The budget is said to 'prioritise frontline services and investing in key areas' and includes a spend of £131.5 million on capital projects.

Among those projects is a further £6.4 million on 'campuses and community hubs' to be spent between April 2017 and March 2018.

One of the residents involved in the short-lived Marlborough Community Operations Board (COB) - set-up to check the feasibility of a campus-type project for the town - told Marlborough.News he was shocked to learn about this further spending on campuses.  

When he and COB members approached Wiltshire Council about funds for a campus or community hub for Marlborough and the surrounding villages they were told very plainly there was no more money in the campus budget: "It's a nonsense."  

This comes when County Hall is not only stating it is unable to find money for Marlborough under their campus programme, but is also trying to get the Town Council to pay for repairs to bring the 'former Youth Centre' up to scratch so it can lease the building from Wiltshire Council.

"There seems", another resident told Marlborough.News, "to be continued austerity for Marlborough, and shiny new centres everywhere else in the county." 

"And don't forget that Marlborough has a crying need for sports facilities."

Opening the Malmesbury Community Centre: l to r - Wiltshire Council deputy leader and cabinet member for communities and campuses - John Thomson, Baroness Scott of Bybrook, Kim Power - chair of the Friends of Riverside who will run the centreOpening the Malmesbury Community Centre: l to r - Wiltshire Council deputy leader and cabinet member for communities and campuses - John Thomson, Baroness Scott of Bybrook, Kim Power - chair of the Friends of Riverside who will run the centreThere is currently a flurry of openings and high-profile events at these new campuses or community hubs.  On March 2, Tisbury's new £8.1 million Nadder Centre will be opened by Wiltshire Council's leader, Baroness Scott.

On February 17, Baroness Scott opened the "Wiltshire Council-funded Riverside Community Centre" in Malmesbury.  

The day before Baroness Scott was in Corsham for "the official opening event for Springfield Community Campus" - which has in fact been open for many months.

Wiltshire Council's campus programme has an overall budget of £80 million.

Marlborough.News is seeking comments from the Marlborough area's four unitary councillors.