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‘Make Melksham’s Parks Great Again’ Campaign begins to save town’s parks as another play area is closed

Hornchurch Road Play Area which has closed ‘until further notice’

A CAMPAIGN to ‘Make Melksham’s Parks Great Again’ has been set up by a local mum who is fed up with the state of local parks.

The campaign is designed to allow local people to share their views about the parks, upload pictures and come together as one voice to bring about change for the town’s parks and play areas.

Emma Smith who has a five year-old daughter said, “The recent closure of our local park on Hornchurch Road has devastated so many families, including my daughter, so I wanted to do something pro-active.”

Frustration over the state of several parks in the town is increasing and two parks have already been shut ‘until further notice’ by Wiltshire Council due to ‘safety concerns’. The most recent to close is Hornchurch Road Play Area in Bowerhill.

“We are in a really disappointing situation,” added Emma. “People are becoming increasingly frustrated with the state of our parks and green spaces in Melksham and they’ve had enough.

“The parks are either overgrown, half finished, borderline dangerous or being closed altogether. Where does Wiltshire Council expect our children to play or expect us to walk our dogs? I’ve noticed more and more children kicking balls around in their streets and cycling near roads because they haven’t got anywhere else to go.”

“People are getting in touch with the council and trying to get things done but I think if we want change, we have to come together and have one voice to make a real difference.

“People are completely dissatisfied with how they are represented and feel no-one is listening to them. So I want to collect evidence and pictures of the current state of our parks in Melksham and present it all to our MP and Wiltshire Council to show them that we really have had enough of being the town which gets the raw end of the deal. Other towns in the area have beautiful play areas and parks, Chippenham, Bradford on Avon, Devizes – they are all wonderful, why can’t Melksham have the same?

“I’ve set up a Facebook group, ‘Make Melksham’s Parks Great Again,’ so everyone can post pictures and their comments about the parks on one forum. Lots of people are really unhappy and frustrated but rather than individually trying to do something, let’s come together and show Wiltshire Council that we care about our parks and we want change.”

Melksham Town Council is trying to wrestle control of the play areas away from Wiltshire Council and have been in protracted discussions while Melksham Without Parish Council has already taken over several parks from Wiltshire Council and spent thousands of pounds on upgrades and improvements.

However there are ongoing issues with the play area on Hornchurch Road which is slowing down the transfer from Wiltshire Council to Melksham Without Parish Council

Chair of the parish council, cllr Richard Wood said, “We are as frustrated as everyone else and we are doing all we can to move things along as quickly as possible. We have been trying to take over the park for over a year, but there are issues   with ownership. Wiltshire Council doesn’t actually own the park and until they find out who does, they can’t transfer it to us.

“We didn’t know they were going to close the park, they didn’t tell us, but we did see it coming as the maintenance on the park has been very poor by Wiltshire Council for such a long time and it was on the edge of being dangerous.

“We have the money to make the improvements and bring it up to standard but can only do this once it has been transferred over to us.”