Town council's statement on Assembly Rooms 'megaloan'(February 02, 2010)
2 February 2010
Dewey House and Assembly Rooms To Form New Civic Centre
The proposal to combine the Warminster Town Council offices at Dewey House with the Assembly Rooms, which has aroused much public interest, has partly been based on the principle of Little and Large. The Assembly Rooms (Large), currently in need of maintenance, represents a considerable loss to the community - £60,000 a year to be precise, a figure not wholly offset by incoming revenue as the building's size and consequent hiring charges discourage some groups.
Dewey House (Little), the Town Council's administrative hub, is, on the other hand, too small, compromising the effective and efficient running of a modern council office environment. Privacy is denied for confidential meetings and available floor space does not accord with the prescribed recommended minimum. As for the Council Chamber, small by any standards with limited space for public attendance, this will be rendered even more cramped in future. The regional trend to devolve more in the way of responsibilities to town councils inevitably necessitates additional Councillors.
It is believed that the proposed solution meets practical requirements and serves the interests of Warminster people. The Town Council will have dedicated offices in the refurbished Assembly Rooms, which will afford ample space for Town Council staff and a sufficiently spacious Council Chamber. The venue will continue to be available for hire, with the new adaptable layout retaining the large hall and creating two smaller ones, an approach which, it is believed, will attract more business.
There are no plans to sell Dewey House. On the contrary, the building, which is part of the town's history, will continue to be used by the community in one way or another, with its main hall remaining available for hire.
No firm decision to proceed has yet been taken - in addition to looking at potential designs, the Town Council has started the process to finance the project through the Public Works Loan Board.
Plans for the new Civic Centre have been on display at the Assembly Rooms for several weeks for members of the public to inspect. In addition, the Mayor's Community Day on Saturday 27 February (10am to 4pm) offers Warminster residents the opportunity to ask any questions they might have.
For further information, please contact:
Heather Abernethie, Town Clerk, Warminster Town Council, Dewey House, North Row, Warminster BA12 9AD.
Tel: 01985 214847. Email: [email protected]