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Questions raised over campus funding
QUESTIONS have been raised over the long-term funding of the planned Salisbury community campus.
The multi-million pound facility to be built at Five Rivers Leisure Centre will house a range of public services from adult day care and the youth service to the Citizens Advice Bureau and police services. There will also be a new, all-weather sports pitch, a climbing wall and large multipurpose spaces for activities, meetings or exercise classes. Plans were submitted for the scheme earlier this month and it is hoped construction work will begin early next year.
However, while the initial funding for the campus development is coming from Wiltshire Council, questions have been raised over what will happen longer term following comments made by the council’s corporate director, Carlton Brand.
Speaking to a public sector magazine, Mr Brand admitted the council had “no preconception” of how the campuses will operate once they are built.
He said: “We could run them all ourselves – we probably couldn't afford that in the long run – or we could say to the community ‘you do everything to make these services work to your needs’, or there's something in the middle.
“We are tapping into the RSA's (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) innovative policy side to work with communities."
Salisbury is one of seven new campuses currently under way and Mr Brand called them an “ambitious joining up of services and behaviour change, underpinned by technology and budget pressures”. He said: “They are the building blocks of transformation, leisure, libraries – we are one of the few authorities opening libraries at the moment – spaces for vulnerable people, nursing and GP services, and essentially anything that the community wants to be included.”
A Wiltshire Council spokesman said the campus project was an evolving scheme tailored to the needs of each community and that the council was working with local people, businesses and organisations to “explore how we can maximise the involvement of both the community and our partners within the programme”.
She said: “Currently the business case for each campus is that all ongoing funding will be provided by the council to ensure their continued operation.
“However, as we work with partners to expand and increase the number of services available within campuses, such as extended opening times, we will explore how we can potentially share long-term costs across a range of partners to deliver the best value for the tax payer.”
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