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Mixed reaction from local people over revised campus plans

FOLLOWING the unveiling of Wiltshire Council’s amendments to the Melksham Campus plans, residents have voiced their opinions, with some believing it will never be completed, but others are saying Melksham should stop their whinging or run the risk of Wiltshire Council forfeiting the whole plan.

The changes, that were shared during Melksham’s last Area Board Meeting on Wednesday 6th June, included; relocation of the main health and wellbeing centre to the site of the Conigre football pitch; a reduction in the amount of land allocated to new housing, with only the site of Melksham House earmarked for development; retention of the current Melksham House car park; and the relocation of the multi-use games area (MUGA) to behind the campus on the old rugby pitch. The construction of the new GP surgery has also moved to the current site of Melksham Blue Pool.

Posts on social media and letter to Melksham News have shared people’s frustrations that the Campus is still in discussion, after continuing to wait years for the process to begin, questioning Wiltshire Council’s ability to deliver on such a large project.

Maggie Hicks commented, “This is just a pipe dream and a complete joke! It should have opened four years ago, but the money was wasted on the white elephant of a “Market Place” we have, it’s just shocking.”

In a letter to the Melksham News  Phil Chipper said, “Well although it’s nice to be proved right, it’s depressing just how predictable and inept Wiltshire Council and all those involved in the Melksham Campus, are.  As predicted, we have another revision of the plans, which still require “details to be added” and this all being subject to planning acceptance.  Despite this latest quicksand-based set of plans, we are assured that the 2021 delivery date can still be met.”

Dave Richards, a Christie Miller member, commented “I think Mr. Hubbard and Mr. Thompson need to take a long hard look at the decision they have made and realise just how unpopular they are with ALL the bowling fraternity in the local area, when for some members it may be the only opportunity to get some regular light exercise and contact with the outside world. Shame on you Hubbard and Thompson for such a narrow-minded decision.”

However, other comments say that Melksham people should stop ‘whinging’ as they are lucky to be considered for this development, when other towns in the area are receiving little to no funding.

Brian Paget, on Facebook, comments of his genuine congratulations to the ‘lucky people of Melksham’ who will benefit from the new campus. “Westbury residents however might be wondering why it is the money always runs out before it reaches them,” said Brian. “Lots of expensive consultations, promises etc. etc. but always last on the list, always the bridesmaid and never the bride, when it comes to WCC funding.”

In response to the suggestion that money earmarked for the campus should be used instead to refurbish the existing Christie Miller and Melksham Blue Pool, a letter written to Melksham News stated, “Why are people still going on about this when senior Wiltshire councillors and officers have attended several open public meetings in Melksham over recent months to answer questions and explain why renovation of these facilities are not economically reasonable or practical?

“Melksham Town Council and the Melksham Area Board have recently been successful in getting Wiltshire councillors and officers to attend open-to-the-public meetings to explain their decisions and answer questions.

“So whinging about issues when answers and explanations have been provided at meetings held in public are counter-productive.   Hanging on to the past only diverts Wiltshire Council’s time and resources, and in this case risks permanently forfeiting the plan to provide the long-overdue proposed community facilities on the Melksham House campus site.”

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