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Melksham Campus will be scaled back – despite denials

THE Melksham House campus is to be scaled back – as exclusively revealed in Melksham News two weeks ago.

Wiltshire Council initially denied the claims in the last issue of Melksham News,  saying there was ‘no reduction in the campus budget’.

But now the council has admitted that, although the overall ‘campus’ budget is remaining the same, the Melksham House part will have to be scaled back, because the cost of the football and rugby facilities at Woolmore Farm will be significantly higher than expected.

After Melksham News raised concerns about the campus three weeks ago, Wiltshire Council told us, “The funding allocated to provide Melksham Community Campus has not been reduced and it has to be built and delivered within its approved budget.”

Now it emerges that although the total budget has not been reduced, the increased cost of Woolmore Farm means the campus at Melksham House will have to be scaled back. And critics are saying the council was trying to hide this from the public.

Laurie Bell, associate director communities and communications, has admitted that, “There is no reduction to the Melksham campus budget but as the costs for Woolmore Farm are higher than the initial budget allocated, this will mean a review of the plans for the Melksham House site to ensure the campus is delivered within the approved budget.”

And cllr John Thomson, Cabinet member for campuses has also admitted that some elements of the plan are too ambitious and will have to be reviewed.

The news has led to demands that Wiltshire Council should be more open and keep the public informed of any changes.

Melksham’s campus, at £15.1 million, still has the biggest budget of all the campuses planned in Wiltshire and the council is saying the key elements will remain.

“We are investing significantly into the Melksham Community Campus project and we look forward to delivering a state-of-the-art facility that we believe will benefit the entire local community.” said a council spokesperson.