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PLANS for a new housing estate on land situated to the south of Woodrow Road, has sparked fears about how the town’s already stretched services will cope with another population explosion.
Residents have raised concerns about the lack of health facilities with just two GP surgeries now in the town – Giffords Surgery and Spa Medical Centre – after St Damian’s Surgery closed in March.
And with a number of housing developments already in progress across the town – 450 homes on land off Snowberry Lane, 150 homes off Semington Road, and 213 homes on land on Pathfinder Way, Bowerhill – residents have said that this could be one housing development too many. They are demanding that more GP surgeries, schools and dentists be built first, to cope with any rise in population.
As reported in the Melksham News last year, Melksham has already surpassed its housing target of 2,240 new homes as part of Wiltshire Council’s ‘local plan’ for 2006-2026.
A public consultation on the latest development of 150 homes off Woodrow Road is open until Wednesday 23rd September, after which the developers will submit a planning application to Wiltshire Council.
Melksham Without Parish Council will be considering their response to the public consultation at their next planning committee meeting on Monday 7th September, 7pm.
A spokesperson for the parish council says, “All welcome, meeting will be live streamed on YouTube, or you can speak in the public participation section via zoom. Keep checking for details the week before, on the website www. melkshamwithout.co.uk.”
“Waiting times will get worse”
In response to the news of the plans for the 150 homes, Bryan Sheppard said, “I don’t understand how planning is passed, as the infrastructure of the town doesn’t change, as you’ve only had St Damian’s GP surgery close down and waiting times for doctors and dentists etc are only going to get worse!”
Kylie-Clair Bewley said, “That’s right let’s just build all over our green spaces and cram as many people into our town as possible, whilst providing NO infrastructure! We have one secondary school that is bursting at its seams! Making that school bigger is not good enough. All the other towns has more than one secondary school!
“We only have two doctors surgeries and a poor selection of shops, not to mention our lack of sports/leisure facilities. An absolute joke!”
“No, no, no!”
Katie Whiting said, “No, no, no! There is not provisions in place for more people. Recreational – closed sport centre and not replaced, current sport centre is inadequate. How can the council have all these houses built but unable to build Melksham hub. Education facilities will be over subscribed but no new provision will be put in place if Melksham Hub is anything to go by.”
Lisa Haines added, “Are they going to build more doctors, dentists and schools? As pretty soon no one will be able to get a doctor or dentist or school place.”
“Losing another green field I expect,” said Julie Lavery. “I think we have enough houses going up in what used to be a small town. Drove by the land next to the Spa surgery and it looks horrible with the preparations going on. The green field has gone, the trees and of course the wildlife.
“The town doesn’t have the infrastructure to cope with all of these new builds and it is making me feel claustrophobic just looking at them all.”
A new housing requirement for Melksham is expected to be revealed this year as part of Wiltshire Council’s review of its ‘local plan’, which will take the plan up to 2036.
However, evidence submitted by Wiltshire Council to the Department for Transport (DfT) to support its funding application for a bypass to the east of Melksham, indicated that Melksham could be in line for a target of up to 2,045 new homes by 2036 – as part of the Chippenham Housing Market, which could have a target of up to 13,535 homes.
Wiltshire Council was approached for comment.
For more information about the proposed housing development on land to the south of Woodrow Road, and for details about how to take part in the public consultation, visit the website: www.woodrowroadmelksham.co.uk