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MELKSHAM Town Council’s vision to get the parks and play areas of the town up to standard and safe is off to a flying start, with the reopening of the Primrose Drive play area and work beginning on the redevelopment of the paddling pool in King George V park.
Closed in April by Wiltshire Council for safety reasons, work began on reopening Primrose Drive play area last week, days after Melksham Town Council was granted permission by Wiltshire Council – who own the park – to proceed with the repairs funded by the town council.
“The town council doesn’t hang about,” said Mayor of Melksham, cllr Adrienne Westbrook, on the eve of the play area’s reopening.
Deputy Mayor of Melksham cllr Jon Hubbard said, “We are delighted to see Primrose Drive being reopened and that children and young people, well in advance of the holidays, are going to be able to come back down here and enjoy this facility.”
The reopening of the play area signals the start of a programme by the town council to get all the parks in Melksham up to scratch and safe for the children of Melksham.
“This is what we at the town council have been wanting to do, not just for this play area but for all of our play areas,” said cllr Hubbard.
“This is the start of our programme of really getting on top of them, making sure that they are up to standard and giving our town the facilities it needs. This is your town council caring for our community and caring for our environment.”
Cllr Westbrook added, “Eight years of lack of investment by Wiltshire Council is now being addressed by the town council.”
Work has also begun on redeveloping the paddling pool in the King George V park into a children’s play area, with new water-themed equipment aimed at children under three.
The pool was closed by Wiltshire Council last year as it was deemed not fit for purpose. The town council decided against trying to reopen the pool for the summer as it was not cost-effective and instead decided to invest in new facilities as part of a long-term vision that Melksham councillors have for the town’s main park.
Explaining what’s next on the town council agenda for Melksham’s parks, cllr Hubbard said, “Whilst we are not going to be able to fix every play area immediately, what we want to try to do is prevent what happened at Primrose Drive from ever happening again.
“We want to be proactive, rather than waiting for them to be shut, having them shut for six months whilst we all argue over who does what, we’re wanting to get ahead of the curve.
“This is the start of a programme; we are going to be inspecting, with Wiltshire Council, every play area in the town, find out what needs to be taken to stop them from being closed and make sure that we can try and get them all up to a bare minimum standard.
“Once we’re confident they can all be open and they’re all safe, then we’ll be working with residents, young people and with children to work out what they would like to see happen and how we can invest money in expanding and improving the offer we have in our town.”
Users of Hornchurch Road play area are also celebrating after Wiltshire Council came good on their promise to repair the park. The play area was reopened last week after repairs and a safety inspection were completed.
PICTURE: Mayor of Melksham cllr Adrienne Westbrook and Deputy Mayor cllr Jon Hubbard inspect the repairs at Primrose Drive.
PICTURE: Work begins on redeveloping the paddling pool at King George V Park.