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Death of the Campus programme in Wiltshire

December 13, 2017 12:00 PM

This week's Wiltshire Council Cabinet confirmed the death of the Campus programme in the county.

The promise of the delivery 19 Campuses has been broken. The Conservatives have abandoned those communities like Westbury who had been promised substantial funding to provide them with new and improved leisure and community facilities.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Gordon King commented, 'despite Westbury being the area with the largest consultation returns on the Campus programme, the town has been completely ignored by Wiltshire Council and feels completely let down by the entire process.'

'Westbury records one of the most deprived areas in Wiltshire, it is the community with most need according to the council's own joint strategic needs assessment. But despite this has not seen a penny of funding from the Wiltshire Council's flagship Campus programme, though it is a town in desperate need of improved leisure provisions. In a Wiltshire where "everyone matters" it seems that some communities matter more than others'

Lib Dems in Wiltshire recognise and welcome the investment in the seven current locations lucky enough to have already received investment to fulfil the campus programme. The balance of this funding across the county does not seem entirely fair or appropriate, to have promised the original campus boards in nineteen locations across the county without having already secured the funding to deliver on their promises was wrong.

The monetary situation of the council may have altered significantly in the years since the intention to roll out the Campus programme, but the original intention was for the funding to come out of realising assets rather than out of the revenue budget which has been cut by central government. Questions need to be asked about where money that had been allocated to the Campus programme and the improvement of leisure provision across Wiltshire has instead been spent on?

'With the decision this week of the Cabinet, the implementation of the original promise of nineteen campuses is now impossible. This is undeniably unfair on those towns across Wiltshire who have not benefited from the millions of pounds that have been spent on improving facilities in other areas', said Cllr Ian Thorn, Lib Dem leader on Wiltshire Council. 'It is now vital that the Conservative leadership makes clear what it will do for the communities who have so far been badly let down.'