Cllr Simon Crundell, mayor, Melksham Town Council
WITH the twinkling lights casting their glow and the spirit of Christmas wafting through the air, I find myself in the delightful position for a second year of extending warm wishes to all of you as your mayor.
Firstly, let’s raise a collective cheer for the extraordinary efforts of the Melksham Christmas Lights team. Their tireless dedication has metamorphosed our town into a spectacle of festive brilliance, a true testament to the community spirit that makes Melksham so utterly splendid. To these unsung heroes, I offer my heartfelt applause. And let’s not forget the town council’s officers, the architects of the splendid switch-on event, that saw our town square brimming with the infectious joy of our locals.
We all know that it is Melksham’s community groups that make our town so special. However, volunteer time is increasingly the most sparse and precious resource. As we immerse ourselves in the warmth of Christmas, consider extending a friendly hand to our neighbours who may appreciate a bit of extra cheer. Whether it’s lending a hand or simply sharing a smile, these small gestures create a cosy atmosphere that embodies the true essence of Melksham. If you find yourself inspired to spread a little joy, perhaps by volunteering your time, the town hall is the perfect place to discover opportunities to give back to the community groups that keep our town going.
In the spirit of Christmas, let us not forget the enchanting tapestry of local businesses that add a touch of magic to our high street. The independent shops, the heartbeats of our community, offer a curated selection of treasures waiting to be discovered. As we embark on our Christmas shopping adventures, let’s make a conscious effort to support these local gems, for they are the true artisans of our town’s character. A purchase from our local shops is not just a transaction, it keeps alive the traditions and unique charm that make our town special.
As we nestle into the warmth of the season with our nearest and dearest, it’s also a moment to tip our hats to those working diligently behind the scenes. To the police, fire service, healthcare professionals and all those ensuring the seamless operation of our town – your efforts are truly appreciated. A festive tip of the hat, too, to our town’s clergy, whose presence and support to so many during this bustling time do not go unnoticed.
As we peek into the possibilities of 2024, there’s an air of excitement about the projects awaiting Melksham. Your town council is here to serve and your engagement is not just invited, but cherished. So, do consider joining us at our meetings, where your ideas and opinions on the day’s business will be gratefully received.
In closing, the mayoress, Rose and I, alongside the entire town council, extend our warmest wishes for a Christmas adorned with love and laughter. And best wishes too for a peaceful New Year filled with joy, prosperity and the unmistakable charm that makes Melksham, well, Melksham.
Cllr John Glover, chair, Melksham Without Parish Council
I WOULD like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year as we complete another year.
I trust that you will be able to have a joyful celebration with your friends and relations and are looking forward to the new year.
The parish council has continued to enjoy their new home in the Campus and are very much utilising the new modern facilities and, specifically, the ability to meet constituents and hold meetings with external clients through the continuing use of Zoom.
The central location in town has continued to allow much easier access to the public and we are pleased to see more residents continue to drop in with enquiries to the office.
Wiltshire Council is introducing restrictions on the use of the Campus car park but you will still be able to park for up to 3 hours when visiting the Parish Council. In the event that a meeting with us is likely to exceed 3 hours, we can provide a pass to allow a longer period of parking.
The Neighbourhood Plan had been proving its worth by shaping development coming forward in planning applications and being used to prevent those that are speculative and not Plan-led.
However, some of the protection afforded by having a Plan has now ceased at the two-year point in line with legislation. Hence a number of speculative developments have been agreed, both by Wiltshire Council and on appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.
The necessary review of the Neighbourhood Plan started almost immediately and you will have seen the results of the revised and additional policies in a new draft Plan that was put out for consultation. In line with the new Neighbourhood Plan and the proposed Local Plan, your council will continue to put the needs and requirements of the parish to the fore when assessing developments of any nature.
Separately, your council has been lobbying MPs and Ministers to update the National Planning Policy Framework to ensure that Neighbourhood Plans can hold weight for more than 2 years. We expectantly await a statement from the Government, which we think locally will prevent a lot of this speculative development.
The parish council has two casual vacancies following the recent resignations of Councillors Robert Hoyle and Stefano Patacchiola, both due to increased work and family commitments and we thank them for their good service over the last few years.
We look forward to welcoming new councillors in the new year.
Once again, I wish all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.