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Deputy leader of Wiltshire Council apologises to Mayor after cricket pavilion row

THE deputy leader of Wiltshire Council has apologised to the Mayor of Melksham after causing uproar at the area board meeting when he announced that the King George V cricket pavilion was to be given to Young Melksham.

During an update on the Melksham Health & Wellbeing Centre at last week’s Melksham Area Board meeting, deputy leader of Wiltshire Council, cllr John Thomson, said that as Young Melksham need to be moved from the Canberra Centre where they are based now, Wiltshire Council had offered them the cricket club pavilion  as a new home and that the decision was final.

The news came as a complete surprise to Melksham Town councillors in attendance, who had up until then believed that the building would be part of the King George V playing fields asset transfer, from Wiltshire Council to Melksham Town Council, that has been in negotiation since May last year.

Cllr Thomson’s announcement provoked a passionate response from the Mayor, cllr Adrienne Westbrook, who said that she was ‘shocked’ and ‘aggrieved’ that the decision had been made with no consultation.

However, cllr Westbrook met with cllr Thomson this week and he admitted that he had made a mistake.

“John Thomson has apologised for making that statement,” said cllr Westbrook. “He held his hands up and said, ‘Sorry I shouldn’t have said that, it’s not a done deal.’ He told me that no decisions have been made about relocating Young Melksham and that there are lots of options on the table.

“And any decision made will be done in full consultation with Melksham Town Council through shared discussions with Young Melksham, Wiltshire Council and the town council. That has been categorically stated.”

Confirming that no decisions have been made, a spokesperson for Wiltshire Council said, “The situation regarding the future King George V Playing Field is separate from the overall campus programme of work. We are looking into passing on trustee ownership of King George V playing fields, including all facilities located there, on to the town council, and discussions are ongoing with them about this.

“As part of the campus programme, Young Melksham may need to relocate and we are currently in discussion with them regarding possible options. There are legal matters associated with Young Melksham’s current location; the Canberra building. We are considering the feasibility of all options, prior to making any final decision.

“With regard to both of these projects we are working closely with Young Melksham and Melksham Town Council to deliver the best possible outcomes for both organisations and the local community.”

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