IT’S impressive how quickly Wiltshire Council has come up with an alternative design for the relocated library/Travelodge following the comprehensive dismissal of the previous effort by the public.

Clearly there’s a sense of urgency about this project, due in part to the prospect of losing six million smackers if they aren’t spent soon. But also, I guess, due to the exigencies of working with a commercial partner.

At first glance it’s a big improvement, though scrolling through documents online is not as helpful in coming to an informed opinion as a public exhibition of the plans might be. Any chance?

It’s worth taking an all-round look at the proposed development, and not just the Fisherton Street frontage that most people will see most frequently.

The view, for example, from the ‘Cultural Quarter’. By which the council means our lovely Playhouse and rather less lovely City Hall. (I do hope they can beautify the one without destroying the other.)

The Playhouse has a warm hug of an atmosphere and is built on the right, human scale for audiences to engage directly with performers. In contrast, go somewhere like the BIC in Bournemouth, as I did once at great expense to see Eddie Izzard, and you’d be better off waiting for his next TV special.

Whilst Eddie was just a speck in the vast distance, all too visible were the inane tweets from fellow audience members projected on either side of the stage. Stuff like ‘I’m at Eddie Izzard’. I kid you not. I suppose it made you feel you were seeing something, at least.

No, give me our local theatre any day. And one day in particular last week was a wonderful example of why.

It was a Stage 65 and Jigsaw Youth Dance Company production of The Wizard of Oz. I imagine most people there had a relative or schoolfriend taking part.

But I didn’t, and neither did my companion, and we had still had such a good time.

I wouldn’t dream of picking out individual members of such a youthful cast for praise or criticism. This was truly a group effort. And what an inclusive, all-embracing group it was, with tinies to teens contributing according to their very varied abilities.

My abiding memories will be of a small boy with big round specs peering earnestly out into the lights as the cast took their final bow, trying to spot his family, and waving with both hands.

And of Toto, the adorable terrier. The notion of replacing him with one of those puppet dogs for the central part of the show worked a treat. I watched the young puppeteer with admiration, thinking how much my own knees would be creaking with all that kneeling and jumping around!

An absolute joy, and I left with a tear in my eye.

Community. That’s what live theatre can reflect and reinforce in a way no screen ever will.

Treasure this, and please don’t redevelop the life out of it.