The transfer of assets from Wiltshire Council to Bradford was approved by the town council this week

The devolution and transfer of assets from Wiltshire Council to Bradford on Avon was unanimously approved by the town council at their meeting on Tuesday, May 5.

On March 24, Wiltshire Council agreed the devolution, which includes the transfer of a large number of assets such as Poulton Field, Poulton Pavilion, St Margaret’s Scout Hut, the Budbury Close Sub Station, allotments and market stalls and the town lock-up.

Bradford town council will also receive the £25,000 capital fund from Wessex Water to improve and develop Barton Farm country park.

The package, however, does not include cemeteries as these discussions have been delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

At the meeting Cllr Ian Thorn said: “Once we’ve had that meeting, we’ll be able to go on with the cemeteries side as well.”

The transfer, which would save Wiltshire Council £126,000, involves taking over all town maintenance including streets, land, amenities, highways and play areas.

After the meeting, Town Council leader, Cllr Dom Newton said: “The asset transfer allows us to control our own destiny to a greater extent.

“There’s obviously increased maintenance costs and things for us, and we’re picking up responsibility for areas where Wiltshire still retain a level of ownership but we’re going to be responsible for maintenance.”

“But it means we’re going to decide what type of maintenance we do; we can look at projects like rewilding and we can manage things much more effectively in terms of biodiversity policies. And the point that we can consult more widely on the use of the space.”

In order to pay for the cost of maintenance, the town council will use revenue income through the venues that they run and potentially monetise some of the spaces – which the council said would be a short to medium term plan.

In the immediate, the costs will come from their funds based on local taxation and reserves, however, the council said they will also apply for funding streams that are attracted by community spaces.

Cllr Newton continued: “We have successfully worked with some businesses in the town to provide sponsorship for maintenance purposes, so again it takes off some of the load of the taxpayer.”

The date for the sign over of these assets has yet to be confirmed.

This is Wiltshire

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