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Plans for WW1 memorial wood in jeopardy?

LOCAL councillors have expressed concern that plans to plant 200 trees in the proposed mini country park to commemorate fallen soldiers from WW1, could be in jeopardy due to the slow-moving action of current land owners, Persimmon Homes.

As part of the joint project between the town and parish councils to create a new green space on the site of the former George Ward School playing fields, the councils hope to plant the trees on Saturday 10th November as part of a nationwide project to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War 1.

However, councillors have said that Persimmon Homes are being tardy in responding to their requests to move forward the transfer of ownership of the land and that they fear that the transfer may not happen in time.

Mayor, cllr Adrienne Westbrook said, “We need to sort it for November 10th – it seems a way away, but we all know how quickly things come around. It’s not easy to get those permissions, so we are really pushing Persimmon and Wiltshire Council to actually come up with the paper work to allow the two councils to take over the land.

Chair of Melksham Without Parish Council, cllr Richard Wood added, “Persimmon are being their usual tardy selves in responding to our requests for a transfer of the title. We have been in contact with Wiltshire Council and Persimmon a lot about this and we’re getting nowhere. Can you imagine the publicity if it came to light that they were preventing a memorial wood in memory of all those people in the area who died during the First World War? I really hope they get themselves together and get it done. Let’s hope things get a move on and we get the title to the land in time.”

Melksham News approached Persimmon Homes about the councils’ concerns and was told, “We are committed to this project and are very happy to transfer the land to the required timescales so that the town can commemorate Melksham’s fallen soldiers from the First World War.  We are currently in liaison with Wiltshire Council to help facilitate the formal land agreement.”

Whilst the two councils wait to move forward with the transfer of the land to their ownership, they are moving forward with plans to involve the community in the project.

The first ‘Friends of Shurnhold Fields’ meeting will be held this Thursday, 21st June at 7.30pm at the Melksham Without Parish Council offices, 7 Market Place.

For more information or to register an interest, please contact either: Teresa Strange, clerk, Melksham Without Parish Council clerk@melkshamwithout. co.uk 01225 705700 OR Clare Harris, Melksham Town Council, clare.harris @melkshamtown.co.uk 01225 704187

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