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WC's 'dodgy pyramid scheme' collapses

December 17, 2017 12:00 PM

WC's flagship 'campus' programme is in ruins following financial mismanagement by the Conservative administration. The original plan was to use public assets stripped from the pre-2009 District Councils to provide capital to fund community facilities in each of the towns of Wiltshire. Like a dodgy pyramid-selling scheme, those who got in first did well, but everyone else has lost out. It has been clear for some time, despite denials from the administration, that the project was in trouble. Now it's been abandoned.

In West Wiltshire District there is little to show. Results for the five towns are:

Bradford on Avon - nothing.

Westbury - nothing.

Warminster - nothing.

Trowbridge - nothing, though an application for a developer-led redevelopment has been in the planning process for some time.

Melksham - a reduced assortment of projects.

Here's the official release from WC's Conservative propaganda department:

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Wiltshire Council has invested more than £41m in the campus programme approved in 2012 to deliver seven campuses across the county.

Work is currently underway to invest more than £10m in campus facilities in Pewsey and a community hub in Royal Wootton Bassett, and at this week's cabinet meeting £23m was agreed to complete the final phase of the approved programme in Melksham, Cricklade and Calne.

The future provision of facilities will focus on community hubs based on the successful model implemented in Calne, Devizes and Malmesbury.

These hubs provide a wide range of services and flexible space for use by the community and commercial organisations and have evidenced a significant increase in visitor numbers and volunteers, helping to ensure that the building and services are sustainable in the future and do not rely on a subsidy from the council.

Future investment into community hubs will be reviewed and will include a robust business case that meets needs of the local community and delivers a sustainable solution. The provision of such hubs will be considered on a case by case basis.

There were seven campuses approved in 2012 and hubs were then added in 2015 - 2017 at Malmesbury, Calne, Devizes and Royal Wootton Basset.

Wiltshire Council is investing around £33m in Pewsey, Melksham, Calne and Cricklade with a total budget of more than £80m.

The programme will now continue but will be based on community hubs accompanied by robust business cases.

To date £41.576m has been invested to deliver:

  • Springfield Community Campus in Corsham
  • Five Rivers Health and Wellbeing Centre in Salisbury
  • The Nadder Centre in Tisbury
  • The Riverside Community Centre in Malmesbury
  • An all-weather pitch and new toucan crossing at Beversbrook in Calne
  • Calne Community Hub and Library
  • Football and rugby facilities at Woolmore Farm in Melksham
  • Melksham Market Place redevelopment
  • Melksham Cricket Pavilion (replacement following fire last year)
  • Melksham Skate Park at King George V Park

Work is currently in progress to complete:

  • The Vale Health and Wellbeing Centre in Pewsey
  • Royal Wootton Bassett Community Hub (in partnership with RWB Town Council)

The outstanding sites to be completed as part of the approved campus programme are:

  • Melksham Campus
  • Calne Campus
  • Cricklade Campus

Devizes Community Hub has been provided based in the town centre library.

Wiltshire Council has formally submitted plans for the redevelopment of the East Wing site, opposite County Hall in Trowbridge, to include a new health facility, along with leisure, residential, retail and food/beverage opportunities. This scheme is development led.