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DISCUSSIONS are under way regarding the ways in which Melksham can develop its health and wellbeing services as part of its plan up to 2026.
A recent informal discussion between individuals interested in health and wellbeing has identified four land use priorities for further research before inclusion in the Melksham Neighbourhood Plan for possible development between now and 2026.
The four priorities suggest that land should be identified and safeguarded to provide:
• New GP premises, either in the campus site or more likely situated elsewhere in Melksham, which might also be linked with provision for other essential treatment requirements.
• Additional residential care and nursing home provision to meet the needs of an increasing number of elderly and vulnerable adults, and relieve bed blocking at local acute hospitals.
• Creating community hall/centre facilities east of Melksham and elsewhere within new housing developments to meet demands for community and healthy activities from all ages.
• Conversion, enhancement or development of existing local facilities or land for community, health and wellbeing purposes – for example, placing exercise equipment in open spaces, or along paths and cycle-ways; providing additional cemetery space; and community leisure provision within the canal safeguarded route area.
The discussion explored several options that could be considered if space at the Melksham Community Campus proves inadequate to meet the likely future need for GP premises.
Options included safeguarding land in the proximity of the existing Giffords and Spa surgeries to allow future expansion, and identifying a new accessible site elsewhere in the town to provide a new GP facility.
Also, in response to questions posed at the open house engagement event, the discussion also considered if the Community Hospital site was linked to the Wiltshire Council’s Canberra Youth Centre site and released for new housing development.
The discussion considered if some of the cash generated from the sale could be used to fund additional facilities to continue other essential health services such as X-ray and physiotherapy locally – perhaps in conjunction with either of the above options for GP facilities
Spokesperson Nick West-brook said, “Further work is needed to explore these options. We welcome any comments that local people may have about these ideas – particularly what people think about if the time is right to replace the expensive to maintain hospital site with more modern treatment facilities.”
For more information please see the new Melksham Neighbourhood Plan website at www.melkshamneighbourhoodplan.org