Every year I am asked to submit a report to Melksham Town Council as the Wiltshire Councillor for Melksham South.
Below is the report I have supplied for 2018/19
It’s been another busy year on Wiltshire Council and the Melksham Area Board with the continued impact of reductions in funding being seen across all of the work we undertake. One victim of was the closure of the luncheon club at the Assembly Hall, previously based in Melksham House, and I was delighted that the wonderful volunteer team have restarted this scheme and received support from the Town Council to do this.
In my role as your councillor this year I have continued to Chair the Area Board here in Melksham and also the Children’s Select Committee at County Hall. I have also represented Wiltshire Council on the County Council’s Network, where I have served as Vice-Chair for the past 12 months, and also on the LGA (Local Government Association). In my LGA role I served on a task group looking at services for children and young people and participated with the writing of the LGA’s Bright Futures campaign (https://www.local.gov.uk/bright-futures-getting-best-children-young-people-and-families).
As Chair of the Children’s Select Committee, I also helped with the design of the Wiltshire Police Knife Crime campaign, No Knife Safer Life, part of the national Operation Sceptre campaign.
Here in Melksham I took on the role of chairing the Melksham Age Friendly Steering Group and am really delighted that the Melksham Community Area has successfully been recognised as the first Age Friendly Community in a rural community in the county. I recently attended a national conference exploring how we can continue to develop and expand this important work.
As the local councillor for Melksham South I have continued to work with and challenge the developers for the 450 new homes being built just off Snowberry Lane. I am concerned that many of the promises that were made at the time of the original planning consent regarding issues such as the use of Snowberry Lane for construction traffic appear to be now being ignored. I was disappointed that the Planning Committee ignored the concerns expressed by myself, the town and parish councils and local residents about the layout of the planned development, especially the location of the 3 storey flats. I will continue to work on this and when Hallem Development sell on the site to the final developer I will pressure them to reconsider this design.
I have continued to work to improve road safety across the ward and am pleased that the new 20mph limited in Coronation Avenue and surrounding streets are now being installed, joining the new limits in Kenilworth implemented recently.
The proposals at the end of last year to close St Damien’s Surgery rightly caused much concern amongst local residents. During the consultation period I corresponded with both the CCG and all local surgeries about the proposals and the impact on current and future residents. I was pleased that the result of the consultation was that St Damien’s would remain open. I continue to be concerned that the available hours at the surgery are being drastically cut and the real challenge, of there being a suitable number of GP’s and medical practitioners in the Melksham Community, still need to be addressed.
I have also been campaigning hard to get the CCG to make a proper decision about the empty homes outside of Melksham Hospital. It is a disgrace that for years these homes have stood empty with the CCG paying punitive Council Tax rates rather than make the homes available for those who are desperately seeking homes in the town. I cannot understand the logic of the NHS effectively subsidising keeping people homeless!
Finally, we have the ongoing saga of Melksham Campus. I’m pleased that we have, at last, seen a planning application for the newest version of the scaled down campus submitted and that two of the tennis courts are currently being constructed. We now need to keep on top of these plans and ensure that the latest timetable is the last timetable and the provision is finally completed and opened.
I look forward to continuing to serve as your Wiltshire Councillor for the next year and can always be contacted either by email (email@example.com), phone (01225 807969) or via my website or facebook.