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Melksham campus plans set for town council approval

Melksham Campus.

Melksham Campus.

FORMAL plans for Melksham community campus have been submitted, with the town council set to consider the application next month.

The proposed plans include an ambitious redevelopment of the 14.7 acre town centre site which will provide a new swimming pool, sports centre, six rink bowls facility, library, cafe and youth facilities.

A new home for Melksham Cricket Club and Melksham Tennis Club are also included, along with the redevelopment of Melksham House.

The new facilities will also include a main foyer with single point of contact, flexible office space for the Neighbourhood Policing Team and local groups, exhibition space, meeting rooms, multi-purpose activity space and a clinical care room.

New sports and swimming facilities will include a four court sports hall, squash courts, a climbing wall, 70-80 station fitness suite, a dance studio, a six lane x 25m swimming pool and a secondary swimming pool. There will also be a first floor spectator seating for 150 plus dry and wet changing facilities,

Plans for a Market Place redevelopment as part of the campus building work include a designated market area outside the Town Hall, a new roundabout for access to the campus, separate taxi and disabled parking area and speed reduction ramps, with raised pedestrian crossings.

Melksham rugby and football clubs will be moving to a new shared facility at Woolmore Farm which will open by the end of 2014.

The campus plans are to be considered by Melksham Town Council’s planning meeting on Monday 10th March at 6.30pm in the Town Hall before being passed to Wiltshire Council’s planning department for final approval.

Roy While, chairman of the Community Operation Board (COB) said, “The planning application is now being submitted to the planning officer and we are hoping for approval in late spring, which will enable a start to be made on the Melksham House element of the project during the summer.

“However towards the end of February, we shall be working with the architect and users ‘putting the meat on the bones’, compiling room data sheets, understanding how the various rooms and spaces are going to be used, laid out and equipped. This is vitally important – we have to get things right!

“The planning application for the exciting new rugby and football facilities adjacent to the Melksham Oak School at Bowerhill will be considered soon, with work starting this summer subject to planning approval. When completed, construction of the swimming pool, bowls and sport halls on the second phase of the campus build programme can start.”

“Overall there has been a very positive response from residents resulting in a minor tweaking of some of the proposals We have tried to address many of the various issues raised but with a project of this nature and scale with the objective of a central reception/foyer and a positive linkage of facilities with flexible and shared use where possible there has to be some compromise.

“A great deal of work has gone into the planning of this major project which offers so much for the whole community  – both young and older – with the wide range of sport and other facilities. There is something for almost everyone here. There will be a huge spin off for and town centre and the already wide range of clubs and societies will benefit too. As some commented at the road shows – ‘bring it on!’”

Jonathon Seed, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for campuses said, “As both the Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member and a Melksham Community Area Councillor I am delighted that the Melksham Campus is moving ahead so positively.  All the hard work by Councillors, Council Officers and local SCOB Members over recent years together with the very significant investment by Wiltshire Council in the Melksham Campus project is producing the most important development in Melksham for a generation.  This project will bring huge benefits to Melksham and will be a significant regeneration project for an already active Town Centre.”

Melksham residents can view the campus plans  in the Town Hall during normal office hours (Monday-Thursday 9.00am-5.00pm and Friday 9.00am-4.30pm).

 Residents can also view the plans on the Wiltshire Council website using the following planning reference number: 14/00726.