PLANS for Tisbury’s new community campus were approved on Thursday.
But one resident told councillors that hardly anyone wants it, and another warned that it would be “a white elephant”.
The development off Weaveland Road will remodel and link the Nadder Hall, SureStart centre and old middle school buildings.
It will include a new, larger library, pre-school, facilities for the police and for young people, plus space for |small businesses and for meetings.
The current leisure centre will be demolished and replaced with a new sports hall.
Wiltshire Council’s strategic planning committee, meeting in Salisbury’s |City Hall, gave the |project their unanimous blessing.
But objector Sam Lowings told them: “If this is going to succeed, it needs the support of the local people. This is a top-down initiative from people who think they know best.”
Mr Lowings said the council had sent out 4,000 leaflets asking whether people in and around Tisbury would like better facilities.
“But 84 per cent of people couldn’t be bothered to reply, even in prepaid envelopes.
“Of the 16 per cent who did, 75 per cent were in favour.
“The council had another go and the results were even worse, with only 13 per cent bothering to reply.
“Don’t ever say this has the support of the people of Tisbury.”
Other residents raised concerns about access, including the volume of traffic that would pass through the Wyndham Place housing development, and Tisbury Parish Council chairman Patrick Duffy pleaded in |vain for more parking spaces on site. There were also worries about using a new wild flower meadow, intended to be a ‘biodiversity habitat’, for overspill parking.
Library volunteer Jaclyn Berti said there needed to be “something to draw people in” such as a café and art gallery or artists’ |workshops.
Otherwise, she warned, “it will remain a white elephant”.
But Cllr Tony Deane defended the project, saying it would be used by thousands of people from the surrounding area, and Cllr Fred Westmoreland said: “I’m quite proud to be a member of a council that’s actually doing something.”
Cllr Graham Wright said: “We may be making change for the sake of change, but I hope it’s a success.
“I’ve never seen anything positive yet about Tisbury campus, but I hope we will make it work.”