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A PROPOSAL that Melksham’s two councils should be merged, to create one unified council, has moved to the next stage.
People are now being asked for their feedback on whether Melksham Town Council and Melksham Without Parish Council should be merged to form one larger council or remain as they are.
If the councils are to merge, two options have been proposed – a complete merger of Melksham Town Council and Melksham Without Parish Council; or a merger of the two councils excluding Shaw and Whitley, who would form a new parish council.
The proposed merger has reignited debate in the town, echoing the discussions held in 2015 when a proposed merger of the two councils was rejected by Wiltshire Council on the grounds that the two parishes were ‘separate’ and that the existing structure provided ‘effective and convenient’ local government.
Melksham Without Parish Council has said that they are ‘totally against’ a merger, whilst the town council feels that one combined council is in the best interests of the community.
The latest discussion is part of Wiltshire Council’s review of local government. Comments can be made on the proposals and alternative schemes suggested until Saturday 30th November by emailing: committee@wiltshire .gov.uk.
Further consultation will follow in 2020. The review will be overseen by Wiltshire Council’s electoral review committee, and when their work is complete, they will make formal recommendations to full council for them to make a final decision. It is expected the final recommendations for approval will be made mid-to-late 2020.
Cllr Richard Clewer, chair of the electoral review committee said, “Communities change and it’s only right that local governance evolves and adapts alongside them. This review will ensure that town and parish councils are given the best opportunity to be as effective as possible and therefore are fully meeting the needs of their local communities.”
Proposals made by Melksham Without Parish Council have also moved to the next stage – they have suggested that the 100 dwellings at Sandridge Place and the 450 dwellings that will be built in the east of Melksham should be transferred to the town. And that the BRAG canal picnic area be transferred from the parish of Seend to Melksham Without.
A list of all currently proposed schemes in Wiltshire, including Melksham, can be found at: https://cms.wiltshire.gov.uk/ecsddisplayclassic.aspx?name=sd4301&id=4301&rpid=20457214&path=14165.
More information about the review can be found at: www.wiltshire.gov.uk/council-democracy-cgr.