WILTSHIRE COUNCIL UPDATE – Cricklade Community Hub (Campus)
By: Peter Colmer – Wiltshire Councillor,Cricklade, Latton & Marston Meysey
Over the past few months the Cricklade Shadow Community Operating Board (SCOB) have been developing the Community Hub proposal for the Cricklade area, the broad specification of which was approved by the Wootton Bassett & Cricklade Area Board on 28th March 2012.
Building on the feedback from the public consultation we have been working with architects to carry out the initial feasibility work, to determine the funding package that Wiltshire Council Cabinet will consider on 23rd. October 2012. This has involved exploring what services and facilities could be delivered at the Leisure Centre site and initially focusing on the Police Station as the preferred town centre location to deliver the Community Hub proposal.
The SCOB have since met informally with Cricklade Town Council to look at whether there might be opportunities to explore partnership working and co-location at the Police Station. The town council supported the campus ethos and resolved to consider this opportunity.
The initial feasibility work has highlighted that delivering the proposal across the Police Station and Leisure Centre exceeded what could be described as financially deliverable. This was based on early indicative indications from Wiltshire Council. .
The SCOB considered reducing the scope for both of the sites but we did not feel this would meet the brief as previously outlined – we could not deliver everything we, and the community, wanted at the High Street Police Station as well as everything we wanted at Leisure Centre.
Therefore, the SCOB have requested that the proposal to be put to Cabinet should include Ockwells, as a less costly option, as the High Street location, with an asset transfer of Ockwells to Cricklade Town Council and with a sum set aside to perhaps refit areas to make the building a little more flexible and open for some limited additional Community Hub uses. This will not fulfil the SCOB’s original aspirational vision for the High Street hub, but will still offer potentially extended services to those who have agreed to be full partners on this initiative.
We have always wanted to make sure the Community Hub is sustainable for the long term in Cricklade and that it will bring the best possible services and facilities for local people. The decision to recommend Ockwells as the High Street location was made due to the belief that the Police Station reduced option would in no way work and that it would not be worth the additional costs to provide very limited improvements to services.
Also the SCOB firmly believe that for the benefit of the community the savings in the High Street could be better employed to bring the Leisure Centre proposal closer to the design brief and the needs of the community.
It is important to note that at this stage all current plans are still outline, as the serious planning of space will be done in detail once funds are approved by Wiltshire Council Cabinet. As part of the detailed design process the SCOB will look to establish a framework to ensure stakeholders such as Cricklade Leisure Centre and Cricklade Town Council have key roles in influencing the design process but that the SCOB maintain the overall lead, direction and responsibility for developing the Community Hub proposal. Additionally there are likely to be key users, such as young people, disabled or elderly people, who will need to have their say in design and at an appropriate point, share the plans with the whole community.
In summary this proposal is a very significant investment by Wiltshire Council in Cricklade and will benefit all residents in the years to come.
I hold regular surgeries in my office which is situated within the Town Council offices. If you have an issue you think I can help you with, please make contact and I will arrange a suitable date and time with you.
Please contact me on my e-mail address, which is Peter.Colmer@wiltshire.gov.uk or by telephone 01793-750245 (home) 07720-387708 (mobile).
Peter Colmer – Wiltshire Councillor,
Cricklade, Latton & Marston Meysey