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A prestige building needed for a quality town - not an ugly 1960s shack

(March 07, 2010)
MEMBERS of the Visionforwarminster team have considerable experience of how some other local communities organise their affairs - and we should all be prepared to look beyond Trowbridge and Westbury for our inspiration.
Space is clearly a problem at Dewey House but this could be overcome by stripping out the existing council chamber and using that room as offices and holding council meetings in the main hall.
Special modern furniture that stores away can be used in such situations so that when the floor space of the hall is needed the furniture can be stored or reconfigured to the shape required.
Many other local authorities operate this system - locally Test Valley Borough Council which uses the upper hall at its Guildhall in Andover for council upstairsmeetings and it works very well. (They also manage to set a far lower council tax).
The photo sees the upper hall of the Andover Guildhall prepared for the borough council's tax setting meeting this year.
If we were to operate such a system at Dewey House it would be perfectly workable.
''There are always those in Warminster who will try to come up with fatuous reasons why we can't do this but we need a can do attitude rather than a can spend a million attitude in these difficult times,'' said Steve Dancey, who regularly attends council meetings in many towns in a very wide variety of establishments.
Ideally and in the longer term we must establish Warminster's repuation as a quality town and to do this it is imperative that the main civic building (the Town Hall) is the focal point of civic affairs.
Andover was lucky as the council there retained its Guildhall (pictured below) which dates from same period as Warminster Town Hall.
''In past times our town hall building was used by the UDC as the place where royalty was welcomed to the town and it should be a prestige location again,'' said guildhallSteve.
''I'm very sad that the existing town council doesn't share my aspirations for Warminster in this respect; I have tried hard to see why as I know many townsfolk do share my views.
''Those of us who have lived  here a long time - often all our lives - feel the loss of that town hall building very keenly especially when it is coupled with the loss, in 1981, of the Regal Cinema just 200 yards away.
''If we are to go for a huge loan I'm sure more people would support the idea of spending it wisely on our town hall.''

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