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Campus planning decision delayed again – but project is ‘still on schedule’

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THE planning decision for the Melksham Community Campus has been delayed due to changes made to the centre’s design.

A decision for the plans that were submitted in March was expected by the end of August, but now Wiltshire Council says that a decision is due ‘by the end of the year’.

However, Wiltshire Council has offered reassurance that the delay will not impact the expected delivery date for the project, which they say is due to be delivered by mid-2021.

The council says that changes to the design have been made in response to feedback from the community during a consultation period that ended in mid-May.

A spokesperson for Wiltshire Council explains, “Some of the key changes include; sports hall moved further away from Cedar Close boundary; reduction in external height of sports hall; relocation of sports hall stores to west elevation; some internal layout changes at ground and first floor; review of lighting strategy across the site; review of landscape strategy; removal of the multi-use games area (MUGA).

“Once the revised proposals have been formally submitted to the planning department, an additional four-week consultation period will follow, to give the public another opportunity to provide feedback. A planning decision is expected by the end of the year, with the completed facility being delivered by mid-2021.”

But this isn’t the first delay the campus plans have come up against – a four-month delay to the project was announced in February this year because of an in-house ‘battle’ between project leaders and the planning department. And according to the timeline given in October 2017, construction was estimated to start in July this year, with completion in January 2021.

Speaking to Melksham News, mayor and Wiltshire councillor Jon Hubbard said, “As always with any major planning application there are going to be some issues, There was some constructive feedback from residents of Cedar Close who would have been significantly impacted by the proposed building.

“Officers talked to an number of groups who gave feedback on the designs – and in fact I was present at a very positive meeting with the residents of Cedar Close.

“So there has been a slight slippage to the timeline, but no major delay – the anticipated end date of mid-2021 remains the same. A full update on the campus project is expected at the next Melksham Area Board meeting (Tuesday 3rd September, 7pm, at Melksham United Church).” 

Wiltshire Council cabinet member for communities and leisure, Allison Bucknell said, “It’s only right that we take into consideration and listen to the feedback we’ve received. This campus will belong to the community and we want it to meet their needs.

“We’re still making good progress and on track for our completion date, and the work we’re doing now will result in providing a campus of high quality that we hope will be fully embraced by those who will use it.”

The designs for the Melksham Community Campus include a six-lane swimming pool and a learner pool, fitness suite, dance studio, library and community hub, sports hall, a café and office space. 

Regular updates on Melksham Community Campus can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community-environment-melksham-community-campus

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