Garstang councillor poses idea for new town community facilities

Garstang Kepple Lane Scout Hut
Garstang Kepple Lane Scout Hut
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A suggestion for a radical re-think about Garstang’s community facilities has been made by a former town mayor.

With Wyre Council selling the former council offices/community centre to Keyworker Homes for a residential and retail development, ex-Garstang mayor Cllr Graham Salisbury wants his town council colleagues to look ahead.

He has told them: “Whichever way we look at the community centre and car park we don’t own it. It has been sold and will be redeveloped shortly.”

He has reminded councillors that while serving as mayor a few years ago he suggested selling the town council-owned assets at Kepple Lane to raise funds to buy the community centre from Wyre.

Although the idea fell through, Coun Salisbury is urging Monday’s meeting of the town council to look again at options involving Kepple Lane.

An agenda item for the meeting refers to the councillor’s earlier suggestion, saying: “While considering this option it was clear that the Scout and Guide HQ is in a poor state of repair and very tired.”

Councillors have been given sketches of how the site could be redeveloped “providing Garstang with a new focal point including a new council chamber” (though these do not appear on the council’s website).

An agenda item containing Coun Salisbury’s thoughts says: “Yes it will require funding, but if we follow up with Wyre on their past pledges and give the community something to focus on it could be what the community needs to bring everyone together.”

It adds: “The cost will be influenced by method and materials of construction – but the design allows phased development in stages!”

Coun Salisbury’s idea will be considered at Monday’s meeting at Garstang library. (October 16)

While town mayor in 2014 / 15 Coun Salisbury personally asked Wyre “if the building or part of it could be retained for use by the community of Garstang due to its long association with the town and its unique geographical location sitting at the head of our High Street.”

Wyre, to the dismay of the town council, rejected that request and decided to dispose of the now 104-year-old building, prompting protests.

Last week Wyre Council, commenting on town council concerns about parking issues following the sale of the old council offices site and the timetable for the developer’s project, said:

“The latest position is that the matter is currently with the solicitors and we are currently dealing with the exchange of contracts.”