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Circular argument stalls halls decision

(January 19, 2009)
Warminster Town Council is 'going round and round in circles' as it once again failed to take a decision over what it wanted to do with its home and civic centre, Dewey House and the Assembly Rooms writes Paul Macdonald.
"I am very disappointed having been in on this at the start I cannot see that three more complicated plans are the way forward," said Cllr. Pip Ridout. "The cost is beyond our means. Its pointless."
Fellow Tory councillor Andrew Davis disagreed and decided to propose a do nothing approach until some time in June.
"We were testing the water and this is what they (consultants) are coming back with," he argued.
Another councillor, Tony Field, told the council that they have two buildings that they cannot afford to run.
The town council, where members were meeting, is based in in Dewey House in North Row and it took over the Assembly Hall some years ago at the time when the district council cast real doubt over its future.
"We used to be understaffed," claimed Cllr. Field. "Now we are properly staffed. Our four staff are cramped."
"The single question isn't whether we like the pretty drawings it is whether it is intrinsically required and affordable."
The debate went back and forth with each councillor in turn being asked to have their say watched by no members of the public, two journalists and a district councillor. One councillor had then had enough.
"We are going round and round in circles," said Cllr. Brian Wheeler.
An intervention by district councillor Bill Parks (who is not a member of the town council) added another complication.
It saw the meeting then agree to look for a statutory agreement from Morrisons supermarket for money should they go ahead with their Western car park plans. The circle had just widened.
Councillor Martin Baker spoke about an 'engage brochure' but the town clerk said there had be just eight replies so far.
Up stood seasoned councillor Andrew Davis to the expectation that something positive would be proposed.
"We defer for two full council meetings," he said. " We need to know the future of WCR at the assembly rooms, the value of this building, (will) the CCTV should stay in this building,"
Others councillors once again joined in and after further minor amendments and a request for an interim report an extraordinary meeting will be called in June.

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