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Duchess of Cornwall opens 'wonderful' County Hall
The Duchess of Cornwall unveils the plaque commemorating the opening of County Hall today watched by council leader Jane Scott. Picture by Trevor Porter
The Duchess of Cornwall said Wiltshire Council’s award-winning refurbished County Hall is a “wonderful public space” during a visit to officially open the building today.
Camilla was greeted by pupils from The Grove, Holbrook and Larkrise School cheering and waving flags when her car pulled up, before she was given a tour of the building and shown the new open plan working.
As part of her tour she met five-year-old Natalia Kaczmarzyk and her parents Lukasz and Ela, who also met the Duchess when she visited the old Trowbridge Library in 2010, before it moved to County Hall.
Mr Kaczmarzyk said: “It’s the second time we have met the Duchess, although the building has changed a lot since the last time.
"It’s much better now, with more space and a much bigger library, which is excellent for the children.”
The Duchess visited the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub and spoke to staff about the benefits which have resulted from the various agencies working more closely together.
She also met members of the council’s Transformation team, which was involved in the project to reduce the number of buildings used by council staff from 95 to three main hubs.
Julie Anderson-Hill, head of transformation, said: “Our team is passionate and believe in what we are doing. We are delighted to be recognised in such a prestigious way as this is an example of local government going forward.”
After meeting staff using the hot desk area and the project officers and architects involved with the refurbishment, the Duchess took part in a children’s rhyme time session in the new Trowbridge Library.
She then unveiled a plaque in the atrium to commemorate her visit and to officially open the refurbished building.
The Duchess said: “I want to congratulate everybody who has been part of this project.
"You have done a fantastic job and I can see the benefits of what is a wonderful public space."
County Hall is comprised of a 1938 traditional civic building and a 1974 extension, which is now connected by the glass-fronted atrium, which hosts a public restaurant and café, registration service and new library.
The programme is expected to save more than £85 million during the next 20 years and annual running costs of £5m each year, while also creating an environment for staff to work more flexibly.
Council leader Jane Scott said: “It is a great honour to the county and a great excitement for us in County Hall to have the Duchess of Cornwall visit us.
“I want to say thank you to all the staff that spent a lot of time and extra hours to make sure this project was delivered and to the staff that have changed the way they work.”