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Council pulls out of Market Place re-development as costs continue to escalate

Melksham Town Council will not pay towards the cost of the Market Place redevelopment as once again, councillors heard that the cost of the scheme has gone up.

Melksham Town Council had agreed to contribute towards the cost of paving the eastern stretch of the Market Place from the Kings Arms up to Spa Road which Wiltshire Council initially said would cost between £25,000 to £30,000.

However at a town council meeting on 15th May, councillors heard that the cost had increased to £47,000 or more, and the pavement outside the Kings Arms itself wouldn’t be included.

Councillors  agreed that they could not  go ahead with the work until they had a definitive figure from Wiltshire Council.

Two weeks later, Wiltshire Council has confirmed that to pave the eastern footway as far as the Kings Arms would cost £47,000 but to pave outside the Kings Arms as well would cost an additional £12,000, bringing the final figure to £59,000 – nearly double the original cost.

Councillor Mike Sankey put forward a motion at Monday’s town council meeting that the council do not proceed and withdraw with paving the eastern stretch of the Market Place and let Wiltshire Council tarmac the area instead.

Supporting the motion, deputy mayor, cllr Jon Hubbard said, “It think it is really regrettable that we find ourselves where we are because I think the town council went into this project in good faith and I think that there are a number of reasons we find ourselves where we do now.

“So now the decision that we need to make is; are we going to spend nearly £60,000 of tax payers’ money on putting down paving slabs instead of tarmac? Because that is the crux of the decision we need to make.

“I really don’t think in good conscience I could support that. On that basis, I support the motion to withdraw and to not proceed.”

The council then voted unanimously to support this motion and not proceed with the work.