Olympic athletes helped officially open the new County Hall building in Trowbridge today.
Ed McKeever, gold medallist in Sprint Kayaking joined, Baroness Hanham, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, Jane Scott, Wiltshire Council leader and Christine Crisp Wiltshire Council chairman in the opening ceremony and plaque unveiling in the new state-of-the-art public building.
A Wiltshire Celebration of London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics exhibition was also opened, including a gallery of torchbearers. This can be viewed in the atrium until Friday, November 23. The exhibition shows photos of the Olympic Torch route and the 2012 Festival of Celebration event held at Hudson’s Field in Salisbury.
An Olympic Torch, from the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, is part of the exhibition and members of the public will have the opportunity to take pictures with the torch from Monday, November 5 to Friday, November 9 between 12noon and 2pm.
Demonstrations were given by rhythmic gymnast, Francesca Fox and the Judo U63kg British number one, Jemima Duxberry, and those attending could have a go in a kayak simulator to see how Ed McKeever won his gold medal.
Jane Scott said: “Today is very significant, it marks both a celebration of this year and a key milestone for Wiltshire Council. This is a major step in our transformation programme which will see millions of pounds worth of savings made. As we mark the opening of the newly refurbished County Hall, which is the perfect example of how a public building can benefit the community, I would like to thank everybody who has made this year one that we’ll never forget.”
Local Government Minister Baroness Hanham, said: "In the past two years I have worked closely with local authorities to encourage them, together with other local public bodies, to have a programme of asset management. Wiltshire Council has made significant progress with this and I am delighted to be able to see their innovative approach today at first hand. This will save Wiltshire’s council tax payers at least £85 million.
“As two thirds of all public sector assets are owned by councils, if they all followed this example it could potentially save billions of pounds, as well as making better use of public assets and improving services for local residents.”
Ed McKeever said: “2012 has been the most amazing year for sport in this country, and it's great to see how this has inspired people here in Wiltshire. There are no restrictions anymore to taking part in sport so anyone can get out there and get involved no matter of their age or ability.
“I can't wait to see the legacy from the Olympics in the form of the future British Champions who have been inspired from the games this summer.”
The event today was sponsored by Kier, building contractors for County Hall, ELM Furniture who supplied the furniture for the office and public space and WSP-
Mechanical and Electrical Systems supplied the building’s lighting, heating and cooling, and fire alarms.
Following the official opening, Baroness Hanham toured the refurbished County Hall and visited two community campus sites in Corsham and Chippenham as part of the council’s successful bid to be part of the DCLG Capital and Assets Pathfinder.
This shows how the council is working with communities to deliver improved tailor-made local services.