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Melksham council merger rejection an ‘easy decision’, says Wiltshire Council

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APROPOSEDcontroversial merger of Melksham’s two councils has been officially rejected by Wiltshire Council.

According to the deputy leader of Wiltshire Council, cllr Richard Clewer, the electoral review committee, who were overseeing the community governance review, “could not come up with criteria to support the merger” of Melksham Town Council and Melksham Without Parish Council.

“A case for the merger had not been made,” said cllr Clewer at Wiltshire Council’s community governance review last week, where he also highlighted that the review found that Melksham Without Parish Council is an “effective” and “functioning” council that “does not want to merge”.

Speaking in support of the motion to not merge the two councils, chair of Melksham Without Parish Council, cllr Richard Wood, explained that as the two councils already work so closely together, there was no argument for the merger.

Cllr Pat Aves, who is also a Melksham Town councillor and mayor, added that upon reflection over the past few months of the two councils working together during the pandemic, the town council, if they had the opportunity, would have dropped their proposal for the merger, which they submitted in response to the community governance review last year.

The majority of Wiltshire councillors voted in favour of not merging the two councils in what was described as a “easy decision” by cllr Clewer.

This was the second time a proposal for a unified council for Melksham had been brought to Wiltshire Council – a similar proposal in 2015 was also rejected by Wiltshire Council. It was also agreed at the meeting that the 100 dwellings at Sandridge Place and the 450 dwellings that are being built in the east of Melksham should be transferred from the parish council to the town council – proposals made by Melksham Without Parish Council.

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