Articles posted in 2013

These post were originally published on the website between January and December 2013.

Roy While’s update – December 2013

December 14th, 2013

We have had quite an exciting two or three weeks what with the roadshows where we met a large number of local people and, of course, the Melksham Area Board on Wednesday night. Following a presentation and questions, the Board, all six local Wiltshire councillors voted unanimously for the submission of the planning application to go forward. We shall now be working with our architects, DKA, on the detail design. There will be more information in my next update early in the New Year. The first phase of the building work  – the revamping of Melksham House – is expected to start next Summer.

Roy While – chairman

Melksham House User Update – December 2013

December 12th, 2013

Luncheon Club update

Wiltshire Council and Melksham Town Council have agreed terms of use for the luncheon service to take place at the Assembly Hall during the construction of the campus.

The luncheon service will be provided from the Assembly Hall from 7 January 2014. The current meals service at Melksham House will continue until 22 December 2013.

The temporary service will be a customer focused food service that caters for the community with an emphasis on meeting the needs of vulnerable people but anyone is welcome to make use of the service and we would hope those currently enjoying meals at Melksham House will continue to do so at the Assembly Hall.

The service will be provided on five days of the week over the lunchtime period and will include a consistent and high quality service with a range of menu and prices that are the same or similar to those enjoyed currently at Melksham House.

There will be time and space for complementary activities and a licensed bar service will be made available through the Town Council’s existing service

Melksham House Closure

In order to progress the Campus development and as agreed previously by the Area Board, the Melksham House building will close 31 December 2013.

The outdoor sports facilities on site (bowls, tennis and cricket) will continue and the Campus Team will shortly be meeting with all of the clubs to update them on point of contact arrangements during the construction period.

The Rugby and Football clubs will remain on site until late 2014, after which they will be re-located to the Woolmore Farm site. Wiltshire Council is currently working with both clubs to finalise the sports hub scheme at Woolmore Farm, a planning application will be submitted in the next few weeks.

There will continue to be increased activity on site including site investigations and enabling works being carried out. Every attempt will be made to minimise disruption to the outdoor facilities and regular updates will be provided to the clubs to keep them updated on activity and progress.

The car park will remain open during the early phase of construction however it may be closed in the later stages in order to progress the build. We will give as much notice as possible to users of the site.

Clubs and organisations using the Melksham House building that require assistance in securing alternative accommodation following closure can call the Campus Team (details provided below).

Shadow Community Operations Board (COB) update

The Campus designs were taken around the community area last month in the form of a pre-planning consultation roadshow.

The Area Board approved the Campus scheme for planning submission at its meeting on 11 December where a full presentation was provided outlining the feedback from the consultation.

A planning application will be submitted before the end of the year.

Phil Smith, Facilities Manager Leisure Services – Wiltshire Council

Pre-planning consultation feedback to be presented to Melksham Area Board meeting Dec 11th 2013

December 10th, 2013

Following 18 months of developing the campus designs and working closely with local residents and community groups, the Shadow Community Operations Board (COB) unveiled the detailed campus plans at a series of pre-planning consultation roadshows last month. The plans were displayed around the community area with sessions held at Melksham House, the Assembly Hall, Christie Miller Leisure Centre, Melksham Oak School and using the mobile library. Residents were invited to attend to have their say on the proposals. Over 300 people across the community area attended the consultation sessions and provided feedback on the scheme.

Lucy Murray-Brown (Head of Campus Operational Delivery Models, Wiltshire Council) and Rich Pearce (Project Manager, Wiltshire Council) will attend the Area Board meeting to provide a presentation on the consultation feedback received and the next steps in the process.

The meeting will take place at the Assembly Hall on Wednesday 11th December 7pm

The campus plans will be on display from 6.30pm

Roy While’s Update – September 2013

October 1st, 2013

Despite holidays a lot of progress has been made in September. There have been a number of sub-group meetings and the architects have made some adjustments to the scheme layout. Further meetings will take place in the next couple of weeks with the YAG (Youth Advisory Group) the GP Surgery sub-group and with users of the Melksham House site.

We have received presentations from the landscape architect and this has included ideas for the development of the existing pond which will become an integral part of the campus. We have also considered art plan proposals which will ensure the campus design reflects Melksham’s heritage.

Last week we met with Wiltshire Council’s highways officer and the Travel Consultant discussing the progress of the transport assessment including site access/egress and parking. Obviously we want adequate parking on site but we also want to encourage cycling and public transport.

The architect has met with the Crime Prevention Design Advisor outlining the arrangement for alarms, CCTV, parking , lighting and external and internal access.

Year 6 Bowerhill Primary School pupils enjoyed a site visit to County Hall last Wednesday where, following our earlier visit to the school in the summer, the children received an update on the campus plans from Rich Pearce (Project Manager) and Fabien Coupat (DKA Architects). They went on a tour of the building visiting the new Library, office accommodation and the old county hall building currently in construction. The pupils also met Cllr Jane Scott (Leader of the Council) and Cllr Hubbard (Chairman of the Melksham Area Board) and asked lots of interesting and searching questions on the campus and on wider community matters.

The campus design team is making good progress and in November we kick off the pre-planning consultation with an informal meeting with the Area Board members before taking the road show around the Melksham community. Full details will be provided in the next update. All being well we shall submit the planning application in December.

An update on the Rugby and Football club relocations, the temporary provision of the luncheon service and closure of Melksham House will be provided at the forthcoming Area Board meeting which will take place on Wednesday 9th October at 2.30pm, Melksham United Church, Market Place, Melksham.

Roy While – Chairman

Roy While’s Update – August 2013

August 25th, 2013

Last week we had an informal progress meeting with Melksham Area Board councillors, some of them new following the May Wiltshire Council elections. Richard Pearce, Project Manager (Wiltshire Council) covered site investigations and surveys including archaeology and the ongoing work on the transport assessment, including car and coach parking provision. Our architects from DKA (Simon Lawrence and Fabien Coupat) outlined the consultation carried out through the working groups and the latest draft schematic plans. COB members spoke about the work of their individual sub-groups. This was followed by some lively but productive discussion with lots of useful feedback provided which we will take on board in the next phase of work. The architects are now making good progress on the design work and a further round of working group meetings are being arranged in September to finalise Youth facilities and requirements for the GP surgery. Our next major target will be the pre planning consultation events in the Autumn – information coming soon.

Some members of our team are now taking a much deserved short break but we will be back next month to update you on progress.

Roy While- Chairman

Roy While’s Update – July 2013

August 4th, 2013

This month we have been focusing on further developing the campus design layouts, we have held 2 sub group meetings (Arts/Heritage and Swimming/Wet change) and have also visited two leisure facilities to learn about their design and operation: Winchester Discovery Centre and Hengrove Park Leisure Centre.

We picked up some useful hints and tips on designing and operating spaces for multi use, reception areas and cafes.

We reported an update to the Melksham Area Board last night (31 July) outlining what we, and the design team had been doing in the past couple of months and the next steps – completing further sub group meetings in August/ September with pre planning consultation in the Autumn. Lucy Murray-Brown, Head of Campus and Operational Models gave a progress report on relocation of football and rugby and interim provision of the luncheon club.

The Design Team has also now been fully appointed, and they will be providing us with regular updates to share with you on the blog.

There will be increased activity on the Melksham House site over the coming weeks, this is to enable archaeological site investigations to take place. We will be issuing a full update to Melksham House users early next week.

We have a busy week ahead with meetings arranged with the bowls sub group and also representatives of the Police. We are also starting to shape up our communications plan in readiness for the pre-planning consultation later in the year. We are making good progress.

Roy While Chairman

Roy While’s Update – June 2013

July 10th, 2013

The Campus design work is gathering pace. We have held 2 COB meetings and a total of 9 sub group meetings throughout the month of June.

The sub group meetings have been extremely useful. We have re-visited the individual service requirements gathered over the past 12 months and have started to think about how the services will be aligned together!

It was also great for those attending the sub groups to meet with the design team and to ask questions about how the design process works. We had input from local residents (e.g. library users, local artists), members of local clubs and organisations (e.g. short mat bowls, Wiltshire Swindon and Users Network) as well as representatives from governing sporting bodies (such as the Amateur Swimming Association and the English Indoor Bowls Association)

Here are a few updates:

Arts/heritage and branding

Our creative advisor Diana Hatton facilitated our first meeting where we had a lively discussion about how creativity might be integrated within the landscape and fabric of the building. Opportunities identified included lighting and glass, flooring and paving, seating and circulation space.

We enjoyed an interesting discussion about Melksham’s vibrant history including interesting stories from its community (past/present) and how we might reflect the local connections and heritage through creative installations in the campus.

Multi-Purpose Accommodation and Meeting Room spaces

We started to map out all of the different users of the multi-purpose and meeting rooms spaces in order to develop the individual room specifications (e.g. size, acoustics, floor finishes). We have to make sure that we deliver flexible space within the campus for a variety of groups and organisations to use. Storage is particularly important as well as factoring in sufficient time for changeover of use (room set up and clear down).

Melksham Youth Advisory Group (YAG)

We had our first session with the YAG last week, we wanted to explore the best ways to communicate and engage with young people across the community area about the campus plans, we are looking forward to our second meeting next month.

Bowerhill Primary School

The highlight of the month has to be our visit to Year 5 pupils at Bowerhill Primary School as part of their Geography project on the campus. Richard Pearce (Wiltshire Council) facilitated an interactive session with props and role play which explained the benefits of bringing different services together as part of the campus.

We very much enjoyed the afternoon and were really impressed with the enthusiasm the children had for the project and the many pertinent questions that came forward.

Next Steps

Our focus next month will be to hold a further round of sub group meetings including:

  • Wet change/swimming pool
  • Neighbourhood Policing Team
  • Bowls.

We are also off to visit the Discovery Centre in Winchester and Hengrove Leisure Park in Bristol to see how the buildings are designed and the spaces are managed….so we can learn lessons about what works and what doesn’t!

Roy While – Chairman

Roy While’s Update – May 2013

May 13th, 2013

We have had a further two meetings since my last update.

On April 15th we met with the GP representatives to discuss their accommodation requirements and on Monday 29th we had a further design meeting where we looked at the various adjacencies of different spaces within the campus e.g. the library, office accommodation and leisure facilities such as the swimming pool.

A number of design sub group meetings have also taken place (including Swimming/wet change and Bowls) where we have been engaging with different user groups and governing bodies to develop the specification and to inform the design.

We will also be setting up sub groups to focus on the GP accommodation and also the multi-use spaces that will be used by lots of different community groups and organisations. The COB will also be meeting with the Melksham Youth Advisory Group (YAG) in the next few weeks to hear from young people about how they would like the various spaces in the campus to look and feel and to explore how they would like to get involved in the design process.

A creative advisor – Diana Hatton, has also been appointed to develop an arts plans for the Campus and SCOB member Mike Sankey took part in the selection process which involved interviewing 3 candidates. We are delighted to have a creative advisor on board and are very much look forward to working with Diana over the coming months to look at what opportunities there will be for artistic and creative interventions in the Campus.

We are meeting again on Monday 20th May so watch out for a further update next week and do get in touch with any comments or feedback that you have.

Roy While – Chairman

Roy While’s Update – April 2013

April 6th, 2013

Following the appointment of DKA architects for the campus design phase, we are now starting to meet with Simon Lawrence and his project team on a fortnightly basis. At last week’s meeting we made arrangements for visits to other sites in the southwest providing multi facilities, including swimming pools.

We reviewed options for disabled access to the swimming pool, changing facilities and spectator seating. We also started to give more thought to adjacencies and how the various services and facilities will fit together.

Most importantly we talked about the way in which we would involve users and others in the design process, working in small teams along with the architect and Shadow COB members. The first of these design groups will cover swimming and changing facilities and this is in the process of being set up.

Our next meeting, Monday 8th April will take place at the ‘new’ County Hall to look around the Library, atrium/cafe, meeting rooms, hot desking areas and personal care room.

Watch out for further updates.

Roy While – Chairman of the SCOB

Roy While’s update – March

March 18th, 2013

We are pleased to announce that DKA Architects have been appointed to design the Melksham Campus in consultation with the SCOB, following a rigorous selection process involving a number of architectural firms. DKA are a local firm and also carried out the Melksham Campus Feasibility study last year, so they are very familiar with the site and the overall process which is great news and the SCOB is very much looking forward to building on the good working relationship it has developed with DKA over the past few months. We will be setting up fortnightly Design meetings and our first task will be to engage with key stakeholders and design working groups to take the project forward.

Watch out for further updates.

Roy While – Chairman of the SCOB

Press release – Planned closure of Melksham House as campus moves a step closer

February 9th, 2013

The Melksham Campus, which will be situated on the Melksham House site and grounds, is set to take another step forward following discussions with local residents.

As part of the on-going campus programme of delivering accessible community services, it is now planned for Melksham House to close towards the end of this summer to enable the build programme to begin.

The timing of the closure of Melksham House has been made following discussions with a number of users which will ensure summer bookings can be honoured and the Melksham Food Festival can take place in September.

The closure will not impact on the outdoor use of the facility as it is proposed the football, rugby, tennis, cricket and bowls activities remain on-site up until the construction process. Options will be considered and explored further for those activities to remain on-site during construction and where possible to keep disruption to a minimum.

Melksham House currently offers a luncheon club/catering service to the local community and It has been decided this vital service will be protected during the construction period. The closure will not take place until alternative arrangements for this service have been secured.

As of yet the actual closure date has not been established. A date will be confirmed when consultation with staff has taken place, options have been discussed on the re-provision of activities where possible and the timeline for development of the site is established.

Melksham Area Board chairman, Jonathon Seed, said: “The proposed and planned closure of Melksham House later this summer demonstrates just how firmly the Melksham Campus is a community-led project.   The decision to close Melksham House has been made in full consultation with its users and staff and we will endeavour to keep disruption to key local services and activities to a minimum while the building of the campus takes place.

“I’m really pleased with the progress of the Melksham Campus and when it arrives in our community this exciting project will have a hugely positive impact on the Melksham Community Area.”

Press release – Melksham Campus could have on-site health practice

February 9th, 2013

Melksham Campus could have its own on-site health facility, with discussions taking place for the possible relocation of a local practice to the community site.  Wiltshire Council and the Bradford on Avon & Melksham Health Partnership are considering the possible relocation of St Damian’s Surgery in Melksham to the campus site.  It could see the Surgery becoming one of a number of community services operating from the campus which will also include a cafe, indoor bowls rink, sports hall, swimming pool and library among others.

All parties involved wish to explore how this proposal could be developed further, in conjunction with the Shadow Community Operations Board.  The Melksham Campus, which will be shaped and developed with help from local residents, will be situated on the Melksham House site and its grounds.

A community campus is a building, or buildings, in an area that will provide the services the local community needs in an accessible location. The aim is to have campuses set up in each community area throughout Wiltshire.

Jonathon Seed, chairman of Melksham Area Board 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”.

Melksham House User Update – February 2013

February 9th, 2013

At the Melksham Area Board meeting on 6 February it was announced that it is the Council’s intention to close Melksham House towards the end of the summer this year (2013).  As previously reported this is to enable the development of the new campus on the site.

A firm date has not been established as yet as this will be dependent on a number of factors. The Council is of the view that that the provision of the luncheons must be protected and as such Melksham House will not close until alternative arrangements for this important service have been secured.  The Council will also need to consult with those staff who may be impacted.

The date for closure and how best to close with as little disruption as possible has been the subject of discussions with a number of users to ensure that some of the potential summer bookings and the Food Festival can take place before closure. The council will also be looking where feasible to support as many of the clubs, organisations and activities as possible which are currently catered for at Melksham House secure interim arrangements. This will include identifying options for the re-provision of activities where possible in conjunction with the timeline for development of the site.

The closure of the House will impact on the outdoor use of the site and it is proposed that the football, rugby, tennis, cricket and bowls activities will be able to continue to run on the site up until such a time in the construction process that it would be unsafe to do so.  Options for maintaining some of these activities on site during construction will be explored and wherever possible disruption will be minimised. We will be looking to keep each club updated as the campus project develops.

The detailed design for the campus will begin imminently and within the next few months Melksham House users will see increased activity on the site. This is due to a number of surveys that must be undertaken in order to gather further intelligence on the site. Every attempt will be made to minimise disruption wherever possible.

It is intended that the planning application will go forward for consideration in the autumn 2013 and there will be many opportunities for the community and local residents to make comment on the plans.

The Council will continue to update Melksham House Users as the project progresses.

Robin Townsend – Head of Service – Leisure

Wiltshire Council