MELKSHAM House will close its doors for the last time at the end of the summer, in preparation for the building of a new Melksham community campus, which will include a library, sports hall, swimming pool and community hub. The campus could also include a local doctors’ surgery.
The latest planned developments for the Melksham campus were announced at a meeting of Melksham Area Board on Wednesday 6th of February by cllr Jonathon Seed, chairman of the area board.
“As of yet, there is no formal closure date of Melksham House,” he said. “Wiltshire Council will set a date after speaking to staff at Melksham House. Wiltshire Council will also discuss how best to reprovide the activities already in place at Melksham House.”
Cllr Seed confirmed that the timing of the closure will not affect this year’s Food Festival, which will still be held in the grounds of Melksham House.
He explained that although Melksham House is closing at the end of the summer, building work will not start on the surrounding grounds until later in the year. As a result, the outdoor use of facilities such as the football pitch, rugby ground, tennis courts, cricket and bowls green will remain open as usual until further notice.
The luncheon club and catering service that is currently run at Melksham House will be “protected” and Melksham House will not close until this service has found a new home.
Last year, Wiltshire Council purchased Melksham House and its grounds for £250,000, with plans to turn it into a new community hub housing sports facilities, a library and youth centre and other facilities.
The historic front of the Melksham House building will be retained and form part of the new campus. But the rest of the Melksham House grounds will be built over.
Melksham Town Football Club’s home pitch, The Conigre, will be demolished, but the football club will move to a new football pitch and stadium at Woolmore Farm, next to Melksham Oak Community School.
St Damian’s to move
to new campus?
The new Melksham campus could also have its own on-site health facility.
At the area board meeting it was confirmed that discussions are taking place between Wiltshire Council and the Bradford on Avon and Melksham Health Partnership to move St Damian’s surgery, currently at Melksham Hospital, to the campus site.
Cllr Seed said, “We are delighted these discussions are taking place. On-site medical provision is precisely the type of community service that we want operating from the campus; it will complement the other facilities perfectly. The provision of health facilities within the campus would be of great benefit to the wider community and we are pleased to be actively exploring how we may achieve this.”
St Damian’s surgery and pharmacy had originally planned to move into Leekes, as part of the department store’s proposed £1million extension.
However, NHS Wiltshire turned down St Damian’s application for a pharmacy at Leekes, stating that it was not “necessary” or “desired” and would only grant the application if the pharmacy was open for 100 hours a week.
Meanwhile, NHS Wiltshire granted pharmacy applications for Melksham’s Sainsbury’s and Asda supermarkets because they could offer 100 hours’ pharmacy opening times.
THE FIRST training session for disabled football players is set to go ahead on Wednesday 20th of February at Melksham Oak Community School’s sports hall, from 5.00pm-6.00pm.
The free training session is open to players of all ages and will be led by fully qualified coaches to provide top training for disabled footballers.
Mike Rogers, who is the manager of local football team, AFC Melksham, has organised the training session in conjunction with Wiltshire Football Association (FA) and the Chippenham and District Sunday football League.
Mike said, “The first training session will scope out the demand for a new disabled football team. If there is a demand, and we get the turn out that we hope for, then we will look to have a team set up by the start of next season. The new team will enter into the Wiltshire and Dorset Ability Counts League.
“We have advertised that the training session is just for 12-16 year olds, but it really is open to disabled football players of all ages. At the moment, we’re probably geared up a bit better for 12-16 year olds, but if there are older people who want to get involved, then we will accommodate them. It’s for anyone that wants to play football.
“The training sessions will run every week on a Wednesday from 5.00pm-6.00pm at Melksham Oak Community School in the school hall.”
Last year, Mike secured £2,800 from Melksham Area Board, to set up the disabled football team. Mike has used part of the cash to train coaches to be able to work with disabled football players of all ages.
“The team will not be managed by me,” added Mike, “but I’ll be on hand to provide admin support and get the team off the ground. I’ll then hand the reigns over to one of our fully qualified coaches.”
For more information you can call Mike on 07578 335161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
MELKSHAM man, Luke Ballinger, has captained the England Futsal team to the main qualifying round of a major tournament for the first time in the squad’s history.
Luke led his England Futsal team-mates to win the preliminary qualifying round group stages of the UEFA Futsal European Championship.
The England Futsal side beat opponents Lithuania and Cyprus to advance to the main qualifying stage of the tournament, in a bid to be crowned the European champions.
Futsal is a variant of football, normally played indoors on a smaller pitch, with five players on each side.
For the England Futsal team, it is the furthest they have ever reached in the UEFA Futsal European Championships and now the team will take their place in Futsal history.
Luke says that the England team will have their work cut out when they face off against Ukraine, Turkey and Slovenia in the next stages of the competition, set to take place from Wednesday 27th to Saturday 30th of March.
If England qualify through the main group stages, they will travel to Belgium for the UEFA Futsal Euro competition from 28th of January to 8th of February in 2014.
The England Futsal captain said, “The team has grown so much and to reach the furthest stage we have ever got, is a big step in the right direction for us.
“We have nothing to lose and will try to give it our all. Ukraine will be such a tough match, but we’ll play our game and that seems to be doing well for us. I don’t think the pundits expected us to get this far, but we have.”
Ahead of the next round of qualifying for the European Championships, Luke and his England squad will adhere to a strict training regime. “We have a friendly match coming up against Wales and a few training camps. We have already been to Norway, Malta and Turkey to train. We need to be on the top of our game,” he said.
Luke added that futsal is beginning to gain popularity in England because of its “faster pace” than regular 11-a-side football matches. Futsal was also recently adopted under the Football Association’s (FA) Club England, which was set up to deliver a strategy for all England sports team.
“The FA predicted it would take us at least two more years to reach where we are now,” said Luke. “It’s great to be ahead of schedule and let’s hope we can progress further.”
PUPILS from a local school have dressed all in purple to remember one of their classmates who died last year.
Bowerhill Primary School pupils donned purple clothes on Friday 8th of February to remember Chloe Foulatier, who died from cancer in December 2012.
Pupils paid a small fee to wear purple clothes, which was Chloe’s favourite colour. Half of the funds raised will be donated to CLIC Sargent, a charity that helps children and young people with cancer and provides families with emotional support. The other half of the funds will be used to build a memorial for Chloe in the school grounds.
Chloe’s mum, Petrina said, “We’re just trying to raise as much as possible for CLIC who supported us so well and still are supporting us all.”
Headteacher at Bowerhill Primary School, Andrew Matthews said, “It is good to see so many of the pupils support such a good cause. It has been a difficult time at the school for everyone, but we have offered counselling sessions for anyone that needs them.
“CLIC Sargent do so much to improve the care and support of children with cancer.”
Chloe was diagnosed with cancer in February 2012, just a week after her sister, Kori Peerman, had been given the all clear from a tumour that was growing behind her eye.
At the time of going to print, the running total of donations from Bowerhill Primary School pupils is £900, with donations still to be counted.
ride raises £5,000
Last year, Petrina’s brother, Chris Clark, organised a 65-mile charity cycle ride, to raise funds for CLIC Sargent. He was joined by his work colleagues from Summit Chairs in Trowbridge and together they raised over £5,000 for the charity.
Chris has organised another charity cycle ride to take place on Saturday 22nd of June at 7.00am. The cycle ride will be a 90-mile trip around Wiltshire, starting at Trowbridge, heading through Pewsey, Marlborough, Lyneham and Atworth before returning to Trowbridge.
Chris hopes to beat the amount he raised last year. If you would like to be involved with the cycle ride, then contact him on 07740 345369.
COFFEE shop giants, Costa Coffee, are eyeing up a move to Melksham’s High Street.
South West Coffee Ltd, a franchisee of Costa Coffee, has submitted an application to Wiltshire Council in a bid to open a new Costa Coffee shop on Melksham’s High Street.
The company has applied to Wiltshire Council to change the use of the former Clinton Cards shop and its next door neighbour, the former Fotostop shop, from retail units to a coffee shop.
Should the application be successful, then South West Coffee will look to build a new Costa Coffee shop with 40 seats and takeaway services, as well as creating between “five and eight local jobs.”
Melksham News spoke with Stuart Montgomery, who runs South West Coffee Ltd with his wife, Lynn. Stuart said, “Melksham is a lovely town and we have been looking for a suitable shop for several years. After a failed attempt with another unit on Bank Street we have now finalised an arrangement in the old Clinton Cards unit.
“We hope to open the new shop in late April or May, planning permission dependent. We already have shops in and around Bristol - in Portishead, Henleaze, Westbury-on-Trym, Whiteladies Road, and Bishopston, and we have just opened our latest in Keynsham.
“I am not able to distribute an artist’s impression of the shop at the moment, but it will be a lovely shop for all ages.”
Stuart added that a huge High Street brand, such as Costa Coffee, has helped boost town centres. “Since we opened in Portishead four years ago, we have seen several national brands opening, and reinvigorating the high street for the benefit of everyone; it really does make a difference.”
A MELKSHAM man has donated £17,000 to Wiltshire Air Ambulance, the proceeds of a 55-mile walking event he organises each year.
Clive Milner organises the White Horse Challenge, a two-day, 55-mile event where walkers visit each of Wiltshire’s seven White Horses. The event is open to anyone.
He recently presented the cheque to the charity at their base in Devizes.
Clive said, “It’s great to have presented Wiltshire Air Ambulance with £17,000.
“Last year’s event was particularly pleasing. We had a great turnout, despite the poor weather. Teams either walk some or all of the complete route or can do the 55 miles as a relay. Then families and dogs do a shorter seven mile route on the second day. The real challenge is to walk the whole route but the organisers are clear that the most important thing is to take part, to have fun and raise some much needed money for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.”
Clive, alongside the White Horse Challenge committee, started the event in 2006.
The event starts at the police headquarters in Devizes on the London Road and from there, walkers make their way to Alton Barnes to see their first White Horse. After this, walkers make their way to Pewsey, Marlborough, Hackpen, Broad Town, Cherhill and finish back in Devizes.
The White Horse Challenge will be held this year over the weekend of the 6th and 7th of July.
For more information visit www.whitehorsechallenge.co.uk
A CHARITY based in Melksham has re-launched in a new location and is now calling for people to donate to their cause.
Wiltshire Mind used to operate out of Giffords Surgery on Spa Road, but has now undergone a re-launch from its new home on Melksham’s High Street, opposite Haine and Smith opticians.
The charity was in danger of folding last year after trustees failed to secure a lucrative contract from Wiltshire Council. It was saved thanks to a donation from an anonymous benefactor, who gave the charity £50,000.
Wiltshire Mind is an independent charity that deals with all aspects of mental health, including operating drop-in sessions across the county.
Now, the new chief executive of Wiltshire Mind, David Mckeigue, is calling for the support of local people to keep the charity running. We are re-launching the charity and drop-in sessions for those that need them,” he explained. “We will look to bring drop-in sessions back to Melksham, but we need to secure more funding first.
“We have an annual running cost of £75,000 and we are always looking for businesses, or individuals, to donate to the charity.
“If Wiltshire Mind cannot meet the level of voluntary provision required, there will be economic consequences for the community in terms of additional costs affecting front line services such as hospitals, GPs and emergency services.
“The trustees of Wiltshire Mind want to rekindle people’s interest in a charity that provides expert care at a local level. I want to re-invent Wiltshire Mind’s image and to create a better appreciations of the brilliant job this organisation does. We would like to thank Hills Group for their recent donation of £200 to Wiltshire Mind.”
David explains that there are over 68,000 Wiltshire residents who suffer from a mental illness such as neurosis, psychosis or dementia. Wiltshire Mind can offer support for all kinds of mental health issues.
If you are interested in donating to Wiltshire Mind, or for more information visit www.wiltshire mind.co.uk/donate
MELKSHAM Town Council will be asking the Melksham Area Board, the executive arm of Wiltshire Council, for help to find a suitable location for coaches to park in the town.
The decision comes after the town council wrote to Wiltshire Council’s parking services in December, asking to find suitable coach parking in the town, to bring more tourism into Melksham.
However last month, Wiltshire Council responded that there was no suitable car park for coaches to stop at in Melksham.
At a meeting of Melksham Town Council’s town development committee on Monday 28th of January, cllr Pat Aves said, “Coaches are by-passing Melksham because there is nowhere to park. This is driving trade into other towns.”
Cllr Pam Wiltshire said, “We are disappointed with Wiltshire Council’s negative reaction here, but we will take this to the area board and see if they can take this issue on.”
In June last year, tour coach driver, Matthew Prince, labelled Melksham as “the most unfriendly town for coaches” after there was nowhere to park his coach in town. He had 40 passengers on board, all looking to have lunch in the town, but were forced to move on to nearby Lacock.
THE future of Melksham’s Adventure Centre is secured after a new 15-year lease was agreed for the building, allowing the group to apply for more funding initiatives.
The Adventure Centre currently leases the building from Wiltshire Council and the council’s area board voted unanimously to support the new lease at a meeting on Wednesday 6th February.
Melksham Adventure Centre, situated on King George V Playing Field, is currently undergoing refurbishment to bring the building into the 21st Century.
Speaking after the meeting, Terri Welch, from the Melksham Adventure Centre committee said, “We are delighted to have been granted a new lease.
“The hard work of the committee can now continue and we cannot wait to show everyone what we have done so far.
“We have been applying for some larger grants to help spruce up the building, but we have been turned down because our lease was up for renewal. The future of the building is safe in the committee’s hands and we’ll continue to improve the facility.”
An open day, to show the current improvements at the Adventure Centre, will take place on Saturday 16th of February at 3.00pm.
THIEVES have stolen garden machinery and tools which are used by volunteers who maintain the Conigre Mead Nature Reserve.
Hand tools, a lawn mower and hedge-strimmers, which are worth over £2,500, were stolen from a locked container on Conigre Mead Nature Reserve.
The thieves are believed to have broken into the container on Tuesday 22nd or Wednesday 23rd of January.
Conigre Mead Nature Reserve, located behind Sainsbury’s supermarket, is maintained by a small team of volunteers who gather each month to keep the area clean.
Volunteer Pete Colegate said, “Some of the tools are quite distinguishable because they have holes drilled into the handles where we hang them from hooks in the container.
“We have only had the mower for just over a year. That cost £1,500 then.
“The container was secure, but someone has done a pretty good job at gaining access to it.”
If you have any information about the incident, contact Wiltshire Police by dialling 101.