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WC Campus programme grinding to a halt

November 12, 2014 8:54 AM
Wiltshire Council is spending nearly £80 million to provide improved facilities and services in some parts of the county. However the programme is like a pyramid selling scam - those who got in early have done well, but the others are getting ripped off.

The council's Cabinet discussed progress on the programme on Tuesday Nov 11th. Seven campuses in Calne, Corsham, Cricklade, Melksham, Pewsey, Salisbury and Tisbury will all now be open within the next three years.

Cabinet also decided to approve the delivery of the first phase of a campus in Malmesbury.

In other parts of the county, communities are, in WC's words, "encouraged to develop campus proposals at their own pace, taking into account their local needs." In English this means they're stuffed unless they want to do the whole thing themselves.

Jonathon Seed, cabinet member for campuses, said: "I am delighted that cabinet has approved the campus programme moving forward and that this will result in new campus buildings across Wiltshire in at least eight local community areas.

"Other communities can progress the delivery of a campus that is appropriate for them. Our aim is to enable all our communities to become stronger and build their resilience and the campus programme will help them to achieve this. We want to encourage communities to get involved and look at where community hubs can be located to host a range of services and activities that meet their local needs; either as an interim or final solution.

"The move forward of our campus programme beyond the first phase shows that we are committed to providing co-located services, facilities and community engagement that are fit for purpose for years to come."

Springfield Community Campus in Corsham will be the first to be fully open, with the second phase to refurbish the existing leisure centre due to be completed in summer 2015. The first phase, which opened in August this year providing a new library, café, climbing wall, leisure facilities and extensive community space, has been a huge success.

Since opening, more than 360 people have joined the library, which has seen a big increase in user numbers with more than 11,000 visitors in August compared to the year before - a rise of almost 97 per cent.

Work on the Beversbrook site in Calne, which includes an all-weather pitch and refurbishing the existing pavilion, is due to be completed by the summer of 2015.

The Five Rivers Leisure Centre site in Salisbury is the site of the community campus, which is expected to open in autumn 2015 providing an enlarged cafe, climbing wall, extended gym, dance studio, community space, music rehearsal rooms and a recording studio.

The campus in Tisbury, which features a pre-school and children's centre, play areas, a 16+ teaching area and IT room, sports hall and fitness suite and a library, is expected to be ready in spring 2016.

In Cricklade the refurbishment and additional community facilities at the existing leisure centre are expected to be available for use in summer 2016.

The plans for Pewsey community campus are currently out for consultation. Construction work is scheduled to start in spring 2015 with an anticipated completion date of late 2016. The campus will include a new swimming pool, dance studio, a multi-use games area, community space, café and clinical space.

Melksham campus, with a six-lane pool, bowling greens, fitness/dance suite and gym, cricket pitch, tennis courts, a library and hall is expected to be ready for use in early 2017.