2nd & 3rd ex-mayors speak out over town hall(April 03, 2009)
TWO more former Warminster mayors have spoken out about the town hall.
Richard Phillips, said: "I would be very happy to see the town hall come back under the control of the people.
"My concern would focus on making sure that Dewey House is also looked after and properly used - perhaps as a museaum."
Mr Phillips was surprised to learn that a small village on the Wiltshire/Hampshire border, where he was formerly employed(Wallop), had this week secured more than £220,000 from the lottery to upgrade its village hall - which is not even listed.
Another ex-mayor May Law says she is not surprised at the result of the town hall poll conducted on the internet by visionforwarminster.co.uk believing the town should have been asked the question years ago.
"Every time people say to me what a waste of a fine public building," says former mayor May Law. "We should have been asked ages ago."
"They ought to give it back to the townspeople. They could use it as a function room and town council offices and find new uses for Dewey House and the assembly rooms.
"If it was used daily and full of activity day and night it would go a long way to driving the pigeons off."
May is still very much involved through her work for tenants of the local housing association.
"The assembly hall is becoming a white elephant and needs a new use found for it. I wanted to hold my next big birthday party there.
"When they told me how much it costs I said I only want to rent it not buy it!"
"We really need meeting places for all sorts of functions that's not a pub that are affordable."
May is the second former mayor to back the call for the town hall following on from Stephen Pearson who is from an opposite shade of the political spectrum.
A Conservative councillor's opinion in a letter that it would be too costly has been rebuffed in a reply to the Warminster Journal.
"As for the town hall she assumes that public ownership and control of the building means 'town council'..., writes Steve Dancey, co-author of visionforwarminster.co.uk
'...but as experience elsewhere shows there is a multitude of efficient and sensible ways of achieving this without necessarily involving the town council as lead body'.
The town hall poll closed on Tuesday with 93 per cent in favour of the idea on the website.
In all 118 voted yes and just nine people said no - many no doubt declined to vote as some people have concerns about internet polls - but ours come with no strings attached.
"Before we have all the clever dicks jumping up and down saying this isn't a statistically representative sample, I would say yes but," said Steve.
"I studied statistics for social scientists at university and yes, while there is an element of self selection in the sample and you wouldn't be able build a 95 per cent confidence interval into the result being plus or minus two per cent, it does clearly show the broad sweep of public opinion on this.
"Anyone who bothers to chat to local people will be aware of the strength of feeling about this matter."
If the Over Wallop and Nether Wallop villages can achieve such a grant surely we can go one better and get a decent amount for Warminster.
After all they sell enough lottery tickets here.