Community hub concerns for Cricklade residents
PLANS for a new community hub at Cricklade have received support from Wiltshire Council, despite local residents’ concerns it could destroy the town’s historic identity.
Cricklade Town Council presented two proposals for improvements to public services at a meeting of Wiltshire Council’s cabinet on Tuesday Both schemes described a dual site campus located at the leisure centre and in High Street.
The basic proposal was to refurbish the current council offices at Ockwells, while an enhanced proposal would move the High Street site to the police station. Wiltshire Council approved funding for the enhanced plan.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting, Cricklade town councillor Ruth Szybiak said the enhanced proposal would represent a long-term vision for the town. "It would provide a combined and long-term base for all council services," she said.
She added it would present an opportunity to refurbish the currently redundant police station site to create additional community space, tourist facilities and a larger open plan library. But the scheme split opinion.
Resident Mary Coole said: "There is strong public opposition to the council presence in Cricklade moving from the Ockwell’s site. Ockwell’s is a beautiful, well-restored building of local historical significance."
She added the consultation process had been flawed. "A poorly designed initial public survey was followed by insufficient opportunity for the public to represent their views at hastily convened local meetings," she said.
Cllr Szybiak said there would be a full consultation before the work began. "Work will now commence on detailed designs and will include full consultations with the local community and stakeholders to ensure the facilities, once designs are complete, meet the needs of the community and have their support," she said.