Refurbishment of the former Youth Centre starts - Town Councillors get to work

Written by Sue Round on .


Marlborough Town Mayor Councillor Mervyn Hall, Councillor Noel Barrett-Morton, Susan Barrett-Morton and Martin Phipps (relief caretaker) have started work on the former Youth Centre building owned by Wiltshire Council and now in the hands of the Town Council.  (Seen l to r in the photo.)

On Monday, June 12 Marlborough Town Council signed the lease on the former Marlborough Youth Centre and has taken over its running and maintenance.  Wiltshire Council had no further use for the building.

The building will now operate under the new name of Marlborough Community and Youth Centre. Marlborough Mayor, Mervyn Hall told "We want it to become a Community and Youth Centre for all sorts of different community groups and residents to use."

With some energetic work ahead, the Mayor, councillors and caretaking staff have wasted no time in rolling up their sleeves to clear the building to make ready for renovations. One skip has been filled filled and a replacement is on its way.

After a lengthy period of neglect by Wiltshire Council, there are general repairs and refurbishment to be carried out and some asbestos to be removed by a licensed firm. A project manager is to be appointed to oversee the work. It is hoped that most of this can be completed over the summer so that the centre can attract new bookings in September.

As well as general repairs there are proposals to create some changing rooms for Marlborough Youth Football, to maximise the space in the main hall by demolishing some booths, and to remove the existing flooring returning the hall to its original wooden floor. This would create a suitable space for indoor sports and other activities.

The centre has a kitchen area and lounge, a meeting room, a fully soundproofed music room complete with drum kit and electric organ, and an IT infrastructure. Once these areas are refurbished they will all be available for hire.

Some disquiet was expressed at the recent meeting of the Town Council about the way Wiltshire Council has been - and still is - undertaking multi-million pound community projects in towns across the county, but is leaving all the necessary work on this building to the Town Council.  The only good point so far is that the lease is on a peppercorn rent.

Mervyn Hall commented: "Quite a few towns in Wiltshire have had money spent on a community hub. Marlborough has, for some reason, lost out so we need this building to create our own community and youth centre. It's in an ideal location in the centre of town, adjacent to our open spaces, football pitch, skate-board park, and the town council depot. And it has its own car park."

Under the lease, all the renovation and refurbishment work has to completed in twelve months.  There is still the hope that eventually Wiltshire Council will agree to an asset transfer - putting the building into the ownership of the Town Council.