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2015 is the year when local people have their chance to influence how the town and surrounding area develops.
There are large developments currently in the pipeline but sites are still required for at least another 600 houses to meet the established targets.
The additional residents will impact on local infrastructure – your schools and health facilities, your roads, your employment opportunities, your local shops, and your access to leisure facilities.
To help the local community exercise better control over future development, Melksham needs to produce a Neighbourhood Plan during 2015. This is a community-led statutory document which tells developers what and where they can and cannot build. It also identifies the other amenities, facilities and infrastructure resources they should provide to support the increased population, and the location of future developments and facilities.
The plan will ask questions such as what mix of housing do you want in your area and what additional facilities do you want developers to build.
A Steering Group to produce a Neighbourhood Plan, supported by Melksham Town Council and Melksham Without Parish Council and local community groups, has now been set up.
Chair, Richard Wood says, “We want to hear what local people think should be the main priorities for the plan. This is your chance to shape the future development of the Melksham area.
“There are lots of ways you can have your say. The steering group is currently developing a programme of public participation events over the coming months, a website, surveys, social media and other ways to exchange information, ideas and opinions with everyone.
“For starters, you can tell us what you think the priorities for the Plan should be by going to www.myenvolve .com/project/mnpsg2015”
The Melksham Neighbourhood Plan needs a logo, so the steering group invites all you budding artists out there to take part in their ‘Design a Logo’ competition. The competition is open to everyone, irrespective of age and artistic ability. Details of how to take part are available by emailing the group on mnpsg@ mail.com
The MNPSG will select a shortlist of designs for display at the Melksham Neighbourhood Plan launch Drop-in event in the Assembly Hall on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th March 2015, where people may vote for their favourite design.
The launch event is spread over two days to enable as many people as possible to attend. All are welcome to attend for as long or as little as they choose.
“Without the support and input of local people, the Melksham Neighbourhood Plan will fail,” added Richard Wood. “Please take your opportunity, have your say, and give your support for the Melksham area by sharing your views and attending the launch event in March.
“Please put the date in your diary and look out for more details in future issues of the Melksham News over the coming weeks.
“Without the Melksham Neighbourhood Plan you will have less control over development and your councils will have less money to spend to provide you with the extra facilities you want.
“The Localism Act, 2011 gives you the right to shape the future development of your town, your village and the surrounding area. This is your chance to play your part.”