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New homes and wildlife area planned for former Melksham scrapyard

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112 NEW homes, two commercial units and a large public open space and wildlife area is being planned for the former scrapyard, east of Melksham railway station.

The proposals – by the Bath-based Stantonbury Building and Development Company – have been welcomed by Melksham town councillors, although with a handful of concerns. 

“It’s a refreshing change to see their approach, which is in stark contrast to the big companies around us,” said  cllr Colin Goodhind at a town council planning committee meeting earlier this month. 

Cllr Graham Ellis said the development of the site would be welcome. “Some of the land there and existing buildings are asbestos-riddled and dirty industry stuff and it will be great to get that tidied up,” he said. 

Mayor, cllr Simon Crundell welcomed the plans but said he was concerned there were only 15 charging points and that he would like to see a wetlands area provided and a multi-use gaming area or shelter for teenagers, not just facilities for small children. 

The main concern from councillors was who would be responsible for the park and wildlife areas after the development is built. 

“There is an extraordinary amount of open space with this development which is effectively land which is undevelopable and if they are going to try to get the town council to take responsibility for that land, have we thought about the financial hit to us for doing that long term?” asked cllr Jon Hubbard. 

Think long and hard

An outline of the development.

“I think we ought to be mindful that although there is a nice paintwork job being done on this application, underneath that paintwork, I’m not sure things are as fantastic as they look. 

“We could end up actually having a very, very expensive noose round our necks and I’d certainly suggest we think very long and hard before agreeing to take on maintenance of that site.” 

Town councillors agreed to accept the application, subject to their concerns being raised with the developers. The application will now go to Wiltshire Council to be decided. 

In a letter to local residents, the developers, Stantonbury said, “Development is proposed on the previously developed part of the site, which has been used as a scrapyard and open storage…The existing undeveloped area, which is currently scrubland, will be opened up for public use as a linear park, with different landscape character zones. Pedestrian and cycle access and routes through the site would be improved by creating a north/south link between Bath Road and Dunch Lane. 

“A total of 112 dwellings are proposed across the site. It is proposed that these will be a mixture of 1&2 bed apartments and 2, 3 and 4 bed houses. The scheme would provide at least 30% of the units on site as affordable housing.  

“The commercial units will provide flexible commercial space suitable as starter units for small businesses. The units would be located at the southern end of the site, near the existing alloy wheel repair centre. 

“We understand the unique challenges that this site presents, which is why we employed leading experts in sustainability, flood risk and drainage, contamination, noise, ecology, arboriculture, landscape and public space design and transport and accessibility.  

“With input from this team, alongside the feedback received from residents and the council, we have produced a plan that works to enhance both the previously developed area and the open space on the site. 

“We hope that you will be able to see that our proposal replaces previously developed land with homes and employment, contributing to local need, whilst also opening up a new public open space that will be rich in wildlife and be for the enjoyment of all Melksham residents.” 

When the plans were announced last year, they had sparked concerns over building on a flood plain. But at a Melksham Town Council meeting in December, representatives for the developers offered reassurance that this would not be the case. 

 

 

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