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Splash The Cash Council Decision

(June 22, 2021)

Warminster is finally on course to get children safely playing in water with a new splash pad after councillors agreed to spend nearly £400,000 last night despite it costing four times more than the original budget.

It is hoped that the 74-year-old paddling pool replacement will open early in 2022 at the Lakeside Pleasure Grounds in Weymouth Street.

The project is going to be funded from three different sources with bulk of the money needed coming from the Dewey Trust set up by a former council decades ago.

The council will also dip into money from the Community Infrastructure levy on developers building houses and a council capital fund.

“We basically have three options,” said Cllr. Sue Fraser. “I propose we go with the first one.”

John Syme, a newly elected councillor challenged the cost, pointing out that a Wiltshire town fifteen miles away got a much better price for the one they had provided..

“Why is it £139,000 cheaper,” he challenged.

He was told that it was to provide a water recycling system costing £100,000 which would reduce the annual running costs, be cleaner, and more environmentally friendly.

"Will it also be covered by CCTV?" asked Cllr Syme pointing out that at night the park was accessible.

A heated debate briefly took place between him and deputy mayor cllr. Denis Breet who was chairing the meeting.

Councillors were given the three options by the Paddling Pool Working Group.

They could spend around £400,000, they could cancel the idea as it had risen too far from the £100,000 set aside over two years ago, or return to getting a new paddling pool.

The report suggested that there was a fourth approach which was not discussed. Wait to see if prices drop and scrap the water recycling plant to save a quarter of the cost.

“It will be the second largest spend in the history of the town council so we had better let the public know about this,” said Cllr. Paul Macdonald at the end of the meeting.

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