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Melksham at the ‘back of the queue’ over local parks

Melksham Town Council wants to press ahead with plans to improve local parks in Melksham – but is being frustrated by Wiltshire Council.

Wiltshire Council is handing all its play areas over to local councils but was ‘dragging its feet’ with Melksham which was at the ‘back of the queue’.

Several parks in the town are in urgent need of repairs and upgrading and Melksham Town Council has the money to do this.

But Wiltshire Council owns the parks and, despite saying they are happy to hand over the parks, Melksham Town Council is getting frustrated at the delay.

The parks include the George V park – the main one in the town – where the paddling pool needs urgent repair work and the new East of Melksham play area near Forest and Sandridge School which parents say is in a really poor state.

“We’re desperate to take over these play areas and we’ve got the budget to fix them,” said deputy mayor cllr Jon Hubbard at a recent town council meeting.

“Wiltshire Council will not spend any money on play areas. If any play equipment breaks, their policy is now to remove it or close the play area.”

He said Wiltshire Council is handing all its play areas over to local councils but was ‘dragging its feet’ with Melksham which was at the ‘back of the queue’.

And he questioned why Melksham Without Parish Council had been handed back their parks from Wiltshire Council some months ago while Melksham was still waiting.

All that needed doing, he said, was photocopying the Melksham Without documents and tippexing out the word ‘Without’.

“I can’t understand what the hold up is,” he said.

An online petition called ‘Reclaim Melksham’s Parks for the Town’ has gained nearly 400 signatures. It says, “Wiltshire Council have already passed ownership of local community facilities to many towns across the county.  It is time that Wiltshire gives us the same opportunity.

“We are calling on them to enable the Melksham community to take charge and make sure that our parks are maintained properly and developed further with new facilities for all generations.

“We are asking Wiltshire Council to undertake the asset transfer process and transfer the ownership and maintenance of Melksham Parks to the Town.”

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