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Campus plans still at centre of council in-house ‘battle’

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Deputy leader of Wiltshire Council, cllr John Thomson, says that he is ‘hopeful’ that planning permission will be given to the Melksham campus, despite ongoing ‘battles’ between project leaders and other council departments.

A planning application for the campus was submitted in March, with a decision expected to be made by 31st August. At last week’s Melksham Area Board meeting, cllr Thomson said, “I have to say that we are still in running battles with planning and other various organisations over it. But I’m sure members will be sensible and grant planning permission for it when it comes to committee, hopefully.”

News of an in-house ‘battle’ at Wiltshire Council over the campus first came at the Melksham Area Board meeting in February when cllr Thomson blamed another four-month delay to campus plans on the Wiltshire Council planning department, who had raised objections based on concerns of the possible ‘negative impact’ of the campus on Melksham House, which is a listed building.

However, at the February meeting, cllr Thomson said that the ‘battle’ had been won with the planning department and that the campus project would be moving forward. 

Also at last week’s area board meeting, cllr Thomson announced that ‘last minute’ changes had been made to the planning application in response to feedback from the community at public information drop-in days in March.

Cllr Thomson said, “Following the very two successful public information days at the library – there’s been a few changes to the plans from suggestions and discussions with people. We have put back in the 100 poolside spectator seating into the planning application. There’s also an additional meeting room on the first floor, and an additional large community/party room on the ground floor.

“These changes are subject to planning and the budget. Hopefully we can get that through planning and there will be enough in the budget to deliver it. Hopefully we will have a planning decision by the  31st August.”

The application is available to view on Wiltshire Council’s planning website. Visit www.wilt shire.gov.uk/ planning and use the planning application reference numbers: 19/03329/ DP3; 19/03394/LBC to view the plans.

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