Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Lisa and Graham served on the executive committee of the Chamber of Commerce from 2000 to 2017

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Planning the future of Wiltshire

Background to planning the future - the mechanism

Where will Wiltshire be in 20 years time? Will it grow, and if so how - will development all go into 2 or 3 major towns, leaving smaller towns to loose their significance and hearts? Will development spring up all over the place, or in a new town as I suggested (tongue in cheek) a couple of years ago in Bratton and Edington New Town. And if housing grows, will businesses, schools, shops, leisure medical facilities grow alongside, or will those be centralized giving need to increased travel and transport needs. Will such extra facilities be underdeveloped, leading to a worsening of services, or thought through ahead of time so that they're on stream when needed? And will the character of our towns and city, and our villages and countryside, be retained ... or will we become just like every other set of towns and cities across the land with individuality stifled? And how will all this effect carbon footprint / global warming / sustainability / quality of life?

The Regional Spatial Strategy has laid down the broad brush strokes of development for the next 20 years, and that provides for major grown West of Swindon, and in North and West Wiltshire. And now Wiltshire Council is starting to put flesh onto those bones, looking further as to where the growth that is planned will go in this area. There's a consultation on the Core Strategy going on at the moment - some documents were published for public comment on 31st October, and there are public displays in most towns over the next month, at which the public are invited to look at posters and make comment. In each town, a forum to discuss the plans is held in the evening after the meeting, and full consultation inputs are to be made by 5 p.m. on 31st December.

The core strategy will be drawn up more closely next year, comment will be invited as to whether the process has been fair, and a government inspector will then look at the plans and hold a formal public hearing into them prior to the strategy being adopted.

Does it matter what the strategy says and how it is arranged?

Yes, it does - very much. The draft strategy calls for ...

A "significant level of economic and housing development where higher order facilities and services exist" in Chippenham, Trowbridge, and the area to the West of Swindon.

"Sufficient new development to consolidate and develop their service role" in Market tows (their spelling mistake!) which are listed as Calne, Corsham, Devizes, Malmesbury, Marlborough, Melksham, Tidworth/Ludgershall, Warminster, Westbury and Wootton Bassett

"Development only to support their existing service centre role for a rural hinterland" for smaller towns and larger villages (no list given)

"Development restricted to accommodate the local housing need" for small villages.

Looking at their "Market Town" strategy, the plans read very much as if the spatial planners see their futures as dormitory settlements, with jobs and facilities going in to Chippenham, Trowbridge, West-of-Swindon. That may suit some of the town - but it does not suit what the people of Melksham want. How can I be so sure? Because the spatial planners recently suggested that the new Countrywide store be built in Chippenham or Trowbridge, rather than in Melksham - moving some 35 to 40 jobs from the town; everyone objected, and the vote that's been running on the Chamber of Commerce Web Site has - as I speak - attracted 50 votes to have the new Countrywide store in Melksham and just one to send Countrywide packing.

If we don't want to have to fight the strategic developers for every single employment opportunity - every chance of improved local shopping, transport and parking - every chance of facilities for our young people to have something to do of an evening other than a pub crawl ... then we should make strong inputs into the process at this stage and we should continue to do so. The current size and setup of Marlborough, Malmesbury and Melksham are radically different, and their futures should be very different too. The planner's ideas might be right in line with the Marlborough folks - but they are out of step with Melksham and we should not all be lumped together.

Where do we go from here

The core strategy consultation tour display comes to Melksham on 26th November and (uniquely) will be in a mobile unit in the Town Centre - initial feedback when I asked "where in the town" is "Outside Peacocks". I will be attending, and I suggest that others do too.

The display, which is open to the general public, is followed by a consultation discussion / forum for invited community group representatives only. And (based on experience and talking with people when I went up to Chippenham last night), invitations are very tightly drawn ... I gave my details to a Wiltshire Council Officer who told me that I should attend the public display and add post-it notes onto the displays. It's unlikely that I'll get an invite, as they were looking for community representatives who would make positive inputs (a.k.a. rubber stamp their plan?) rather than people who run/represent businesses in the area. In the car park outside, Lisa and I met up with one of the prospective MPs on his way in. He's been selected by a major political party and has a good chance of winning the Chippenham seat, but I understand that even he was told that the display, and not the forum, was the place for him. I wonder if they relented and allowed him an input [Update - I understand he WAS admitted] - I would certainly welcome inputs from all of our candidates for MP on the subject of Melksham's future. I will be asking for a formal invite to the discussion and I suggest that others do so too

The Grand Kingdom of Wiltshire

We watched a video about the plans and process, and I was struck by the words of Andrew Cunningham, of Wiltshire Council. "We want to control the development ..."

Ah. He's given the game away.

It shouldn't be a question of controlling. It should be a question of helping and facilitating development, surely. Of generating the right conditions for new housing, businesses, leisure facilities, etc, to be built in logical places and to preserve the history and environment and to improve the quality of life. So - if you like - he and his officers should be making it easier for things to move forward in the way that fits what the people of the county want, and not trying to impose planning decisions and policies to manipulate developments so that they are lords and masters of the Kingdom of Wiltshire.

Footnote

This displays on show in Chippenham are "not yet on line" though much of the core strategy stuff is - links to that here - and there were no copies to take away, So we, the public, were limited at this stage to reading what was on the wall and commenting without taking it away and giving it further thought, and I can't reproduced too much detailed text here without transposing it from pictures I took. You'll see from the picture here that the opportunity to add anonymous comments was being taken up and there is a more serious ability to make inputs via forms / email

Some of the "postit" views ...

You talk about sustainable transport here. Yet the only transport change you actually show is a link road. This is hardly sustainable.

What confidence can we have in this proposal when Market Towns is spelt "Tows"

Your total for Chippenham doesn't add up

Difficult to comment as no specific information

Why are we taking waste to South Wales

I'll reserve my comments for the Melksham road show, and for when I have listened a bit more


[link] to forum page on this topic
(written 2009-11-07, updated 2009-11-08)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z402 - Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  [717] A customer service company - (2006-05-11)
  [1223] Asda opening large new store in Melksham - (2007-06-08)
  [1250] Business speed networking - a place tonight! - (2007-06-28)
  [1429] Remembrance day - inside a church and inside the day - (2007-11-11)
  [1432] Wiltshire County Council - Budget Consultation - (2007-11-15)
  [1476] Shopping for Christmas and looking forward - (2007-12-17)
  [1504] Flooding by Asda-s proposed new supermarket - (2008-01-12)
  [1507] Comments on proposed Asda Superstore for Melksham - (2008-01-14)
  [1633] Changing a screen saver from a web page (PHP, Perl, OSX) - (2008-05-06)
  [1642] Summer! - (2008-05-15)
  [1748] Hotel room prices - Melksham, Wiltshire - (2008-08-11)
  [1792] All the pieces fall into place - hotel and courses - (2008-09-10)
  [1880] Melksham Chamber of Commerce, or the FSB - (2008-11-12)
  [1881] Wiltshire Council says - part 1 - (2008-11-13)
  [1892] Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry - (2008-11-17)
  [1904] Ruby, Perl, Linux, MySQL - some training notes - (2008-11-23)
  [1934] Lidl opens in Melksham - (2008-12-11)
  [1979] Looking forward, in Melksham, in 2009 - (2009-01-05)
  [1987] One Cheer for Local Democracy - Asda in Melksham - (2009-01-11)
  [2043] Confidence, Customer Service and Tourism in Melksham - (2009-02-15)
  [2095] Blue Ridge and Melksham Chambers of Commerce - (2009-03-21)
  [2111] Business Networking for Melksham - 23rd April - (2009-04-01)
  [2119] Make your business a DESTINATION business - (2009-04-05)
  [2181] You cannot please all of the people all of the time - (2009-05-14)
  [2194] Melksham Business Map - Chamber of Commerce, Tourist Information and Town Council - (2009-05-21)
  [2220] Melksham Traders - where do we go? - (2009-06-05)
  [2260] Important - the future of Melksham / Chamber of Commerce - (2009-06-28)
  [2288] Wiltshire Community Area Partnerships - (2009-07-15)
  [2289] pre-Inaugural briefing - Melksham Community Area Partnership - (2009-07-15)
  [2328] Melksham - no trains, no southbound buses through the town - (2009-08-08)
  [2437] Wiltshire Unitary News - Chamber of Commerce Intelligence - (2009-10-04)
  [2459] New Web Site for Melksham Chamber of Commerce - (2009-10-18)
  [2465] Melksham Town - asleep or awake? - (2009-10-21)
  [2487] Melksham Forum - (2009-11-01)
  [2508] Community Area Partnership - inaugural AGM - (2009-11-20)
  [2514] The road show has been - where now? - (2009-11-27)
  [2521] Melksham Market - Tuesdays, 09:00 to 14:00 - (2009-12-01)
  [2531] Melksham - new Tuesday Market - (2009-12-09)
  [2540] Rock and hard place .. and the relaxing right one won - (2009-12-18)
  [2544] Vision for Wiltshire - (2009-12-20)
  [2546] How well do you know Melksham - a quiz for Christmas - (2009-12-21)
  [2568] Forums for your Melksham and open source discussions - (2010-01-09)
  [2594] Melksham Area - your community view is sought - (2010-01-23)
  [2640] How is your tax pound spent? - (2010-02-18)
  [2666] Random thoughts on Melksham Town Planning and development - (2010-03-08)
  [2683] Car Parking in Melksham - (2010-03-18)
  [2725] How do our tactics help us meet the strategy, for the greater good? - (2010-04-16)
  [2770] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - Presidents report to AGM - (2010-05-19)
  [2779] The history and future of Melksham Chamber of Commerce - (2010-05-25)
  [2782] Tell the Melksham Chamber or you only have yourself to blame - (2010-05-26)
  [2827] Melksham - a gem in Wiltshire - (2010-06-26)
  [2837] Lorry Parking in Melksham - (2010-06-29)
  [2853] Transport in Wessex - today and into the future - (2010-07-04)
  [2867] Cycling in Melksham, and looking forward - (2010-07-11)
  [2872] Moved - Melksham Lorry Park - (2010-07-15)
  [2883] Melksham Oak - photos of the new community school - (2010-07-22)
  [2891] Wiltshire Council ask how they can help businesses - (2010-07-27)
  [2932] Getting into and out of Wiltshire towns .. a.k.a. Car Parking? - (2010-08-23)
  [2957] Welcome to Countrywides new Melksham store - (2010-09-15)
  [2959] A Melksham news roundup - (2010-09-18)
  [2982] Travel, Transport and Tourism - A vision for Melksham, 2026 - (2010-10-03)
  [2995] A river in Melksham is not just for boaters. - (2010-10-11)
  [3088] Melksham - two many councils? - (2010-12-16)
  [3113] Trowbridge and Melksham to Chippenham - more roadworks, even slower journey over the winter - (2010-12-30)
  [3117] Opportunities for Melksham - new businesses in the town - (2011-01-01)
  [3141] Wiltshire Rail services - a golden opportunity - (2011-01-21)
  [3162] Keep your business customer-friendly! - (2011-02-09)
  [3172] On consultations, car parking, and Melksham town centre - (2011-02-17)
  [3173] What is the Melksham Chamber of Commerce? - (2011-02-18)
  [3188] What proportion of the British Workforce still works a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, week? - (2011-03-01)
  [3193] Melksham Campus - what, why, questions, concerns and how you can input - (2011-03-04)
  [3214] Melksham Campus - any last minute inputs from Melksham businesses? - (2011-03-26)
  [3217] Vandalism and riot from the minority - the effect - (2011-03-28)
  [3246] Melksham - the way forward. 26th April, Well House Manor - (2011-04-13)
  [3249] Events - Spring and Early Summer 2011 in Melksham - (2011-04-17)
  [3272] Melksham Car Parking - current charges and limits - (2011-05-01)
  [3275] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - grows to appoint new Press Officer. Welcome. Sam - (2011-05-02)
  [3279] Letter to The Editor - (2011-05-06)
  [3299] Presidents Report to Melksham Chamber of Commerce, 24.5.2011 - (2011-05-24)
  [3307] Melksham Community Radio launches - (2011-05-28)
  [3325] The Olympic Torch, and Melksham House - (2011-06-14)
  [3334] A lesson from the sporran market? - (2011-06-25)
  [3340] Summer Sunday Timetable - TransWilts Trains - (2011-06-30)
  [3343] Summer Sunday Train Service Starts - Swindon Chippenham and Melksham to Weymouth - (2011-07-03)
  [3380] Melksham Jelly - An Occasional Office for Home Workers - (2011-08-06)
  [3383] Are people who walk into Melksham being asked to subsidise parking? - (2011-08-09)
  [3420] Making best use of the new enthusiasm for Melksham - (2011-09-05)
  [3423] 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 12? - (2011-09-07)
  [3427] What is on the Melksham Agenda? - (2011-09-09)
  [3438] Melksham to become a part of Trowbridge? - (2011-09-13)
  [3470] Currently pictured in Melksham - (2011-10-09)
  [3475] Havant - Shop Frontages. - (2011-10-12)
  [3481] Some thoughts in answer to some Melksham Campus questions - (2011-10-14)
  [3492] Upcoming events in and about Melksham - more dates for your diary - (2011-10-22)
  [3495] Looking forward - Chamber of Commerce has 2012 and beyond on the agenda - (2011-10-26)
  [3496] Melksham - Business to Business Speed Networking - build ahead for 2012 - (2011-10-26)
  [3527] Melksham - changing times, an opportunity for the future - (2011-11-23)
  [3560] Melksham, Month by month through 2011 - (2011-12-23)
  [3598] Melksham Civic Awards - report and pictures - (2012-01-29)
  [3627] Meeting Report - Tuesday 21st Feb - to Melksham Chamber of Commerce from Shadow Community Operations Board - (2012-02-27)
  [3663] Changing shops and organisations - Melksham, the last and next five years - (2012-03-21)
  [3672] Melksham Train Service - please support the TransWilts case for regular trains - (2012-03-25)
  [3677] Some advise for guest speakers at meetings - (2012-03-31)
  [3682] Melksham Business Newsreel - (2012-04-03)
  [3693] Wiltshire Business Support Service - (2012-04-11)
  [3696] Melksham government and business organisations - (2012-04-14)
  [3697] Events in Melksham - read all about them, and tell us about yours - (2012-04-15)
  [3700] Why do people use chains rather than independent traders? - (2012-04-18)
  [3706] An exciting Chamber of Commerce AGM - sound like an Oxymoron? - (2012-04-25)
  [3710] Encouraging business in Melksham and its neighbourhood - keep business local?? - (2012-04-27)
  [3714] Just 12 winners? Or 371 or more? Town Centres. - (2012-04-30)
  [3732] Ten more visitors to your premises every day? - (2012-05-14)
  [3739] Go green - business seminar in Melksham - (2012-05-21)
  [3748] Not everyone has a computer - 9 more ways to learn about the Melksham Campus - (2012-06-03)
  [3751] Public transport for international arrivals into Melksham - (2012-06-04)
  [3752] Melksham Visitors Map - Bus routes and train lines to and from the town - (2012-06-04)
  [3767] How well do you know Melksham? - (2012-06-17)
  [3768] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - looking to our future shape. Pivotal meeting next Tuesday - (2012-06-19)
  [3787] Melksham Pride - the Chamber of Commerce, and the future - (2012-06-29)
  [3812] The Melksham News - July 2012 - Part 1, Campus and Chamber of Commerce - (2012-07-22)
  [3818] Making things happen - litter and ASB and lost dogs in Melksham - (2012-07-25)
  [3850] Bus times - Chippenham Station to Melksham, with London connections - (2012-08-25)
  [3867] The difficult interface between the business, council and voluntary sectors - (2012-09-19)
  [3880] Chamber of Commerce - looking forward in Melksham and in Wessex - (2012-10-04)
  [3889] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - whence in 2013 and beyond? - (2012-10-12)
  [3948] Quiet little town? Advanced Technology Centre? - (2012-12-08)
  [3987] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - join us in our future - (2013-01-21)
  [4002] Images of Melksham you havent seen before - (2013-02-13)
  [4014] Costa Coffee in Melksham - is it a good idea? - (2013-02-22)
  [4041] Report on the last year - Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Melksham Without Parish Council - (2013-03-11)
  [4046] Over a hundred welcoming businesses - Melksham Town Centre - (2013-03-17)
  [4097] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - Report for AGM, 21st May 2013 - (2013-05-21)
  [4103] Questions from children about Melksham Campus - (2013-05-26)
  [4151] Tell me a bit about Melksham - (2013-08-10)
  [4164] Melksham Market - every Tuesday - (2013-09-03)
  [4170] Herman Miller coming to Melksham - the Chamber of Commerce is briefed - (2013-09-10)
  [4278] Future Swindon - Westbury train services. At current level into the future? - (2014-05-25)
  [4399] The Campus in Melksham - name, logo, and livery choice - (2015-01-18)
  [4672] Annual review of Melksham Matters for Chamber of Commerce AGM - (2016-05-15)
  [4738] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - my final Presidents report - (2017-05-10)


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