Cricklade campus may just be pie in the sky
CAMPUS plans for Cricklade could just be a big time wasting exercise after it was revealed that even the key players do not know how much funding is available.
The Wiltshire Council scheme to create a ‘campus’ in the town was first introduced in February last year and several rounds of consultation to determine which services should be included and where the community hub should be based have been carried out since then.
Last month, the town council came under fire for its controversial decision to abandon the historic Ockwells building on High Street in favour of using the police station as one of two campus sites for the town, with Cricklade Leisure Centre as the definite second site.
Now, councillors have been forced to renege on their move because Wiltshire Council has indicated that the budget cannot stretch to revamping the police station building. But what the budget is remains a mystery to everyone planning the project, including Wiltshire Council.
Town councillor and campus working group member Ruth Szybiak (CORR) said that from the outset, Wiltshire Council has not disclosed even ball park figures for how much the town could expect to get for their new campus.
"We were asked to come up with a blue sky project," Cllr Szybiak said. "All the way along they’ve never mentioned a budget. We didn’t go mad and design a space age facility plonked in the middle of the High Street, we tried to do something feasible. The police station is an ugly building which is why we wanted to revamp it."
Wiltshire Council approved the idea of using the police station on High Street as one of the locations for the town’s split-site campus in March. But earlier this month, the council changed its mind and said the project was unlikely to get approval due to cost.
Cllr Szybiak said: "If we’d known up front that what we were likely to come up with was not going to be feasible we wouldn’t have done it.
"But we would still like to receive the investment in Cricklade so we don’t want to be too grumpy about it."
The Ockwells building has now been chosen as the preferred High Street building for the split-site campus, to allow more money to "hopefully" be approved by Wiltshire Council to invest in the leisure centre.
Wiltshire Council’s cabinet will decide how much funding to commit to the scheme on October 23.