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Positive outcome to Civic Trust's town hall meeting

(October 16, 2010)
A MEETING in Warminster's Assembly Hall where those on the platform really listened to the views of the floor actually took place on Friday evening.
The town's Civic Trust had called the meeting, run by chairman Michael Heaton, to look at the possibilities of bringing the Town Hall back into use.
''It was a refreshing change from the meetings held by the town council as most people had fairly constructive points to make and everyone wanted something to be done about the unused Town Hall,'' said Steve Dancey of VFW.
A variety of uses were put forward including for heritage/museum use, commercial use for part of the building, receptions and, of course, as a home for the town council.
Interestingly there were at least six former mayors in attendance - and the majority think the building could be the home of  the town council.
That isn't on the table at the moment as the current council, which is due to sit until May 2013, doesn't share this view. But as, I said at the meeting, the town hall was built long before the town or even the county council came into being and needs to be seen as a hall for the town although ideally it should be the town council's home (and may well be one day).
''I'm not totally against some heritage use of the building, especially if it brings in some outside grant aid and regular funding, but I'm most concerned that the building is something which will be used by ordinary Warminster people on a regular basis to improve their experience of the town and help regenerate the town centre,'' said Steve Dancey.
''Devizes and Salisbury already have fabulous museums and a large part of both are devoted to Salisbury Plain and its unrivalled archeological heritage while the Wardrobe Museum in Salisbury's Cathedral Close is the military museum for this area containing several VCs won by the Wiltshire Regiment.''
Members of the Civic Trust's committee are now going to go away and boil down the ideas and votes taken with a view to coming up with a workable proposal in the current climate.
''I wish them well and although I doubt whether they'll be able to come up with a proposal that will please everyone they are the best show in town at the moment,'' added Steve.
''I wasn't too keen on the suggestion to include UFOs or the catch-line 'Gateway to the Plain' as everyone knows that the UFO activity was a well planned hoax while people who visit the town have already travelled 35 miles across Salisbury Plain when they reach us - not much of a gateway.
''We should forget the empty Plain and concentrate on what goes on in town.''

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