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More facilities for Melksham Railway Station, but some changes to services

Things are changing at Melksham Station, with plans for extra parking, a community cafe and timetable alterations.

Plans have been submitted to Wiltshire Council by TransWilts for the expansion of the existing car park and the change of use of the administration building at the station into a community cafe.  Significant train timetable alterations are also planned for later in the year. 

Graham Ellis, vice-chair of Melksham Rail User Group said, “Great Western Railway have shared their proposals with me and whilst there are some welcome improvements, there are also changes which remove services at times that people need to travel at the moment, or break established connections.”  The changes are necessitated by the faster running and retiming of Great Western’s new Intercity Express trains from London at Swindon, Chippenham and Westbury, and the need to thread trains that call at Melksham into the gaps left.

Peter Blackburn, chair of Melksham Rail User Group and president of TransWilts said, “Passenger numbers are up from 3,000 to 75,000 in recent years and the longer trains and platform delivered last year, cafe, toilets and  extra parking planned for the next financial year, will help service use keep growing into the next decade.”

About the plans, a spokesperson for TransWilts said, “Last week we submitted planning permission for using the vacant site for car parking and the refurbishment of the reception building into a community hub café and piazza community space. 

“We have reached ‘heads of terms’ negotiations with Wiltshire Council for obtaining the lease of the site, which is on commercial terms, so we will need to introduce car parking charges to fund the lease. We hope to occupy the site in June 2019 and open the Melksham Hub first quarter next year 2020. 

“We are awaiting the outcome of the GWR grant for £55,000 which is expected by 31st March. If successful, match funding has generously been donated by Melksham Area Board, Melksham Town Council, Melksham Without Town Council, Melksham Bowerhill Villager and us at TransWilts. 

“We have started to commission more detailed design work and the concept for the building is attached. The total project cost is £100,000 and every contribution is most valuable and appreciated. We could not identify sufficient funding for the cost of a new building, so the Hub concept is a major refurbishment of the reception hut, with the ability to extend in the future.

“This project is the first phase of the masterplan for Melksham Station which includes, in Phase 2, better pedestrian routes/signage and provision for bus drop off/collection point. Hopefully in this second phase, Bowerhill will get a bus service to the station and in the not too distant future.”

The Melksham Rail User Group meeting on 20th March, at 19:30 at Melksham Town Hall, will hear from TransWilts on the car parking and cafe, and from a member of MRUG involved with the timetabling; the meeting will discuss whether representations should be made to GWR concerning the timetable changes, with the rail user group reflecting Melksham Community views and perhaps looking to suggest positive adjustments.

See http://www.mrug. org.uk for further details, email info@mrug.org.uk or call 01225 708225.

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