Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Lisa and Graham are on the executive committee, and Chamber of Commerce meetings are held at Well House Manor

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Melksham - two many councils?

I've only lived in Melksham for ten years - so I may be asking a very delicate question that's steeped in history - but can anyone tell me why we have separate councils for Melksham Town and Melksham Without? The various parts of Melksham rely on one another to make a complete community - with the town's shops providing retail outlets for Berryfield and Beanacre, and with Melksham Without's businesses at Bowerhill providing employment form many people who live in the Town - directly or indirectly. The majority of the new developments to the East of Melksham are within Melksham Without, yet these houses will naturally look to shops and schools and other services within the town itself.

Most other nearly towns - including those slightly larger than Melksham - have a single town council for the whole community. This strikes me as eminently sensible - not only do you have a single administration (rather than two) to fund, but also that single administration covers all the community-level facilities rather than having a distorted (town centre) or distorted (industry) catchment and view. Perhaps there is scope for some merging for efficiency's sake here ... and that would release resources for providing better service for the whole of Melksham.




Having a single body for the area would also reduce confusion which can be quite damaging; only yesterday, I came across the question "why Melksham - it's a town of just 14000 people" for the umpteenth time ... when the true natural community is more like 24000

Inputs welcome - and I'll add them here; email graham at wellho.net




Follow up from John Glover, on Melksham Without Parish Council, and posted here with his permission:

Graham,

Not at all!

We represent different communities. Bowerhill, along with all the other settlements is a village, and has been kept separate from Melksham Town by Wiltshire Council, (previously WCC), in its planning policies, and confirmed at Public Enquiries.

One of the more interesting aspects of your diatribe, talks of efficiencies. I suggest you look at the relative Council Tax levels between the two councils, the numbers of staff, and what they spend their precept on. Which of the councils has a budget problem and which does not.

Perhaps you would care to attend one of our meetings and compare it with the town. Given the continuous sniping between their councillors in the newspapers, you would not be surprised at the political nature of Town Council business. This is not reflected in the Parish business, and long may it continue to reflect what is best for the public, not the party.

JohnGlover
MWPC.


And a follow up from me ...

John - Lisa and I attended the annual Melksham Without Parish Council Public meeting last week ... that's after I got your follow up, but before I had a chance to add it. And it was in general a good meeting; we hadn't known what to expect - first time we had been to one of these.

I appreciate that the two present councils are like chalk and cheese. Perhaps a linkage would allow the one with the better practices to have those practices expanded to cover the other - in fact why not take the best from both? I really question whether the current state of each should be a significant factor in the selection of logical community areas / groupings for the next decade or two.

P.S. I would question "diatribe". I don't think it was - a diatribe is "a bitter, sharply abusive denunciation, attack, or criticism:" and I was just asking "why"? Nothing bitter, nothing that was intended to be abusive or attacking .... nor critical. Just asking "why" ;-)

(written 2010-12-16, updated 2011-03-29)

 
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