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Campus questions answered! Wiltshire Council launch new website

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WILTSHIRE Council has launched a new website for the Melksham Community Campus project.

The new website allows the community to access the latest news about the project, view floor plans for the ground floor and first floor of the campus building, and read answers from Wiltshire Council to a number of questions about the project.

The website has been developed in response to criticism about the lack of communication about the project at the Melksham area board meeting in February. 

At the meeting it was announced that there will be a further four-month delay to the Melksham Campus project because of an in-house ‘battle’ between project leaders and the planning department. The council is now hoping to complete the project in 2021 which would be nine years behind its initial planned opening of 2012. The questions and answers on the new campus website include:

What are the timeframes for the Melksham Campus?

• Planning submitted – 29 March 2019

• Planning decision expected by – 31 August 2019

• Tender published – 15 April 2019

• First stage engagement – commence – July 2019

• Final contractor appointment – Dec 2019

• Construction – early 2020

• Completion – mid 2021

Why has there been a delay?

“Our intention was to submit the planning application solely for Melksham Campus at the end of 2018; this was delayed while further consideration was given to the development of the wider site (principally Melksham House).

“The reduction in the campus scope meant that the building footprint would no longer occupy the entire site and therefore Melksham House and the adjacent land would no longer be developed as part of the campus project. Melksham House is a grade II listed building and the campus sits within the curtilage of the building; due consideration must therefore be given to the protection of Melksham House.

“At that time, it was determined that a planning application for the campus had to include a viable option for Melksham House.

“To better understand the development opportunities associated with Melksham House, the council commissioned a heritage assessment at the end of 2018.  The heritage assessment has provided sufficient assurances about the future of Melksham House, to allow the campus planning application to now be progressed first.  This will be followed by a master plan for the whole site.”

Is there a chance that the planning application will be rejected?

“We cannot pre-empt the planning decision. We have employed an experienced design team, they are engaging with the planning team and will continue to do so throughout the planning process.”

What is happening with Melksham House?

“The heritage assessment has helped identify several potential options for the successful development of Melksham House. Any development must be sympathetic to Melksham House and its setting. The viability of all the options will now be investigated; the final scheme must deliver best value, whilst considering the needs of the local community.”

When do you expect builders on-site?

“The construction programme will need to be agreed with the main contractor. However, we anticipate being on-site early 2020, with project completion taking place in mid-2021.”

What’s happening with the tennis courts?

“We have planning consent for the new tennis courts. We now have a preferred contractor and are currently discussing start dates. The courts are expected to be in place this summer.”

Are you going to close Melksham Blue Pool?

“We have no intention of closing Melksham Blue before the campus opens. We continue to work with our contractor, Places Leisure, to ensure that the Melksham community has a range of physical activity opportunities through this facility and other community spaces where appropriate.”

Will there be a GP surgery on the campus site?

“We remain in contact with the GP, as they work with the Clinical Commissioning Group on their long-term space requirements in Melksham.”

To visit the website go to: www.wiltshire.gov.uk/ community-environment-melksham-community-campus Comments and questions can be emailed to:  MelkshamCampus@wilt shire.gov.uk

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