A personal post from Graham Ellis
Lisa and Graham live in Melksham, Wiltshire, England

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Thoughts on the new Blackmore Ward of Melksham Without Parish

Things they are a'changin with regards to local representation of residents of The Spa, Sandridge, and Woodrow at Melksham Without Parish Council. Until now, they've been included in the same election ward as Beanacre, Bowerhill and Berryfield, and the ward has also included a significant proportion of the new development area to the east of Melksham. That's made it a big ward, represented by 10 local councillors all of whom have been able to specialise in certain aspects.

From May, the east of Melksham electorate inside the eastern relief road transfers to Melksham Town, Berryfield, Beanacre and Bowerhill all move into different wards, and the new ward of "Blackmore" is formed. It will have just two local councillors rather than 10, who will need to be far more generalist than is required of current councillors, where us residents can choose to go the ten different people depending on what we want to raise.

Blackmore Ward will have a very low population density indeed - what might be classified as a truley rural ward. However, it will be far from being a quiet backwater, with the new Oakfields Rugby and Football club grounds, Melksham Oak School. Outline planning permission for 450 new homes east of The Spa is already approved, and there are further significant residential planning applications in off Woodrow Road and off the Spa. The proposal for an Anaerobic Digester on land at Snarleton Farm is also in the ward, and it would be little surprise to find other development proposals made too as there are a number of SHLAA (Strategic housing land availability assessment) sites.

There are going to be tensions in Blackmore Ward over the next four years. On 21st February, I attended the meeting of Melksham Without Parish's planning committee - at which they decide their local inputs to planning applications presented. These inputs go forward to Wiltshire Unitary council and form one element in their planning decisions, which can (in turn) be appealed by the applicant should they wish (and have the resource) to appeal. So inputs to the parish council's planning committee from the public - which I was watching last night - are a pretty blunt instrument.

Most of us love where we live. We choose to live there because of the sweet smell of the countryside, the little country lanes, the views, yet the proximity of towns and facilities. We understand the need to provide more housing across the UK, to make better use of the planet's resources, and to develop new businesses and improve the economy for the future. However, we often ask for those developments to be made "not in my back yard". And that's a problem if everyone takes that view. It's also a problem if we put so much effort into opposing individual developments that we don't make inputs which will offer significant advantages to us in terms of how they are implemented if they go ahead. There's a further problem too if we don't step back and look at the overall picture.

The solution to traffic overload on Woodrow Road may not be to resist more loacl traffic. It may be to route through traffic away along an improved New Road, and in due course to a link from the Woodrow / New Road corner over to the A350 north of Beanacre. Even at the first phase of that, the drop in traffic through the Forest would be significant, and at the second phase "heavies" to and from the digester, should it be built, won't be sent (if the meeting gets its way) up Sandridge Hill into the neighbouring community area who may not have noticed what's being suggested, so may not object.

In my view, we can help our community best in planning for the future by:
* Offering best local advise to people making planning applications
* Looking to maximise benefits to the local community by section 106, CIL and other grants
* Taking a wider look at future development rather than application by application
* Suggesting positive, practical alternatives when making criticisms
* Doing our homework before engaging

Last night's meeting was fascinating in seeing how seriously and well the current councillors to their voluntary job. It also showed what a barrage of emotionally charged inputs they can receive, some of which are misdirected - don't shoot the messenger, who may actually agree with you. And it showed just how easy it is to look at the immediacy of changes proposed that the bigger picture and the request for local benefit via CIL or S106 or additions can be overlooked.

Having just moved housing developments that were on the town's edge and logically in the town out of the parrish, it looks like the next four years in Blackmore will see further such developments in the parish that would be logically part of the town. It will see the two councillors moving from a sparse countryide electorate in 2017 to a majority of suburban newomers by 2021, and it will be there job over the four years to welcome those people and engage them both with the Melksham Without comunity and with the town of who's urban area they'll be a part.
(written 2017-02-22, updated 2017-02-23)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z950 - Purely Personal
  [1014] Christmas Season Piccies - (2006-12-30)
  [1051] Too busy to blog it - but it's great (mostly) - (2007-01-24)
  [2195] A two day gap - first time in five years? - (2009-05-24)
  [2547] The great thing about snow .... - (2009-12-23)
  [2698] Ruth Davis, 1916 - 2010 - (2010-03-28)
  [2886] Congratulations, Kimberly - (2010-07-25)
  [2982] Travel, Transport and Tourism - A vision for Melksham, 2026 - (2010-10-03)
  [3034] Birth Notice - Aeryn Cassandra Ellis - (2010-11-07)
  [3037] Looking back and forward personally - 6 years each way - (2010-11-08)
  [3055] Zyliana Kyrei Cox - (2010-11-16)
  [3108] My First Christmas - (2010-12-26)
  [3224] Melksham Campus - a win / win opportunity, but a severely lacking decision process - (2011-03-31)
  [3240] Melksham Town Council - vacancy in the Spa Ward - (2011-04-10)
  [3283] The juggler - (2011-05-08)
  [3298] Quiet Monday in - (2011-05-23)
  [3413] If its Sunday, must it be Weymouth? - (2011-08-30)
  [3450] A threat in the post? Poor marketing practise from Smiletrain? - (2011-09-19)
  [3511] Melksham has a heart - have your picture taken and support the defibrillator appeal - (2011-11-06)
  [3556] Aeryn at 1 - (2011-12-19)
  [3566] Initial thoughts - response to GW Rail Franchise Consultation for Wiltshire - (2011-12-31)
  [3602] Emerging proposals for land to the east of Spa Road, Melksham - (2012-02-03)
  [3711] Kiss - (2012-04-28)
  [3905] How should we choose our Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner? - (2012-10-27)
  [4111] Zigzag bus - forward for the future, or decaying service? - (2013-06-09)
  [4157] Wedding Photos - Kim Ellis to Kyle Londors, 22nd August 2013 - (2013-08-23)
  [4165] Improving travel advise information in Wiltshire - (2013-09-06)
  [4187] Not treading water, but not risking the ship for a 0.5th of tar either - (2013-10-06)
  [4201] Looking to the future at Melksham Station - (2013-10-26)
  [4221] Celebration of the fruits of LSTF, and of the people who have helped and are helping - (2013-12-15)
  [4235] Sharing my personal best of 2013 - (2013-12-31)
  [4275] Eurpoean Elections, and other elections ahead. Some thoughts on campaigns and policies - (2014-05-08)
  [4281] A different vision for the future - (2014-07-09)
  [4286] Reaction in Radstock to new First bus prices - (2014-07-12)
  [4308] What can you and I learn from online quizzes? - (2014-09-27)
  [4476] Upcoming election - Chippenham Constituency - the major candidates compared - (2015-04-29)
  [4485] Misusing statistics? - the seedy side of election campaigning - (2015-05-04)
  [4489] Election results - what if we had a party list system? - (2015-05-08)
  [4600] A big change in August - (2015-12-25)
  [4625] Where does Wiltshire bus subsidy money come from? - (2016-01-19)
  [4657] Rumours of bus changes by First in Wiltshire - what we know and suspect - (2016-03-01)
  [4658] The end of competition on a bus route - the effects from then end of the 234 - (2016-03-02)
  [4669] Buses - how did we get into the situation we are in? - (2016-04-02)
  [4698] Lisa writes - on the referendum vote today - (2016-06-23)
  [4714] The technical article feed continues - personal updates more proactive on Facebook now! - (2016-10-30)
  [4728] Visiting Los Alamitos Bay Yacht Club - (2016-11-23)
  [4735] Revisiting - should I stand for Melksham Without Parish Council in May? - (2017-02-24)
  [4737] Why you should vote for Lisa in Melksham Central - (2017-05-01)
  [4739] A year of changes for Lisa and Graham Ellis, and Well House - (2017-05-27)
  [4756] Learning how to be a more effective community partner - (2017-07-15)
  [4759] Sale of effects and furniture - 12th and 13th August 2017 - (2017-07-25)
  [4761] Looking forward to the autumn. - (2017-08-19)
  [4767] Some thoughts on 2017, and looking forward to 2018 - (2017-12-31)

Z300 - Politics and Religion
  [216] Cheap purchase - votes paid for with selfish promises - (2005-02-15)
  [257] Politics gets nasty. Must be an election coming up. - (2005-03-25)
  [280] Spotted - the local MP - (2005-04-15)
  [289] MP for Devizes, Wiltshire - (2005-04-23)
  [301] General Election day, UK - (2005-05-05)
  [313] Making bona fide international marriages more difficult - (2005-05-16)
  [326] UK Tax payment totals and where the money is spent - (2005-05-27)
  [335] Sad priorities - (2005-06-03)
  [377] A Strengthened City - (2005-07-14)
  [384] Managing conflict and disappointment - (2005-07-20)
  [415] Campaign Drift and efficiency. - (2005-08-15)
  [469] Yesterday was Kiss and Ride - (2005-10-19)
  [505] Would you steal ... petrol? ... a training course? - (2005-11-26)
  [539] rich and famous - (2005-12-23)
  [602] MP face to face - (2006-02-12)
  [607] On being British - (2006-02-14)
  [671] Both ends of the animal - (2006-04-05)
  [674] Wiltshire to get an extra MP - (2006-04-07)
  [682] Iran has enriched uranium ... - (2006-04-12)
  [696] Is than an uphill or downhill task? - (2006-04-23)
  [750] Almost everyone loses - (2006-06-07)
  [780] Separation and Integration - (2006-06-27)
  [875] Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones - (2006-09-22)
  [967] Realistic on line shoot'em up - (2006-12-05)
  [1003] Room at the Inn, Guy at the station - (2006-12-21)
  [1060] What a relief from the tax office. - (2007-02-01)
  [1109] False imprisonment - a contrast from the news - (2007-03-15)
  [1135] Government pressure on me to shut up after I make the papers - (2007-04-05)
  [1175] Local elections - choosing who to vote for - (2007-05-03)
  [1247] An afternoon at a public enquiry - (2007-06-27)
  [1260] An inspirational business talk from one of our prospective MPs - (2007-07-06)
  [1350] FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) Western Region - (2007-09-13)
  [1386] New software product for warmblooded programmers - (2007-10-10)
  [1428] Travel Across Wiltshire - the game - (2007-11-11)
  [1526] Carers at work - court case changes - (2008-02-01)
  [1573] Budget tax increases hit vehicle market - (2008-03-14)
  [1579] Rome, and the faith of Rome - (2008-03-17)
  [1729] Back from the future - (2008-07-30)
  [1769] July child ponders on August children - (2008-08-23)
  [1872] Barack Obama wins US Predidency - (2008-11-05)
  [1881] Wiltshire Council says - part 1 - (2008-11-13)
  [1882] Wiltshire Council says - part 2 - (2008-11-14)
  [1987] One Cheer for Local Democracy - Asda in Melksham - (2009-01-11)
  [2012] The Wiltshire Police - (2009-01-29)
  [2028] Things people say on the phone - (2009-02-06)
  [2075] Supporting Parkinsons and Trains - (2009-03-11)
  [2178] Melksham Candidates for Wiltshire Unitary Election - (2009-05-12)
  [2206] Spot the odd one out - (2009-05-29)
  [2257] Ramblings on church and state linkage in Melksham - (2009-06-25)
  [2270] Wiltshire - a chance to improve life for everybody - (2009-07-05)
  [2279] Understanding the new local government structure in Wiltshire - (2009-07-11)
  [2288] Wiltshire Community Area Partnerships - (2009-07-15)
  [2353] All change - Wiltshire Parliamentary - (2009-08-13)
  [2640] How is your tax pound spent? - (2010-02-18)
  [2689] Can my dog eat potatoes? Doggie Dietary Research, and political sleaze! - (2010-03-23)
  [2712] A more informed decision than ever before - (2010-04-08)
  [2740] Melksham Hustings at George Ward School - (2010-04-26)
  [2752] Voting day - UK General Election - (2010-05-06)
  [2757] Bodicea, Lincoln, and our new MP - (2010-05-09)
  [2792] Should Government compete with private industry? - (2010-06-03)
  [2824] A pint of Black Rat, and a lazy barman - (2010-06-25)
  [2856] Two sides of the coin - (2010-07-06)
  [2864] Changing with weather and seasons - (2010-07-10)
  [2870] Old prices - what would the equivalent price have been in 1966? - (2010-07-14)
  [2948] Melksham shamefully makes the national headlines - (2010-09-07)
  [2971] Should the public sector compete with businesses? and other deep questions - (2010-09-26)
  [3051] Positively reforming the system - could it be done? - (2010-11-14)
  [3264] Alternative Vote (AV) - explaining and an example - (2011-04-25)
  [3313] What does our MP do on a Bank Holiday? - (2011-05-30)
  [3323] Is Melksham town centre dying? - (2011-06-11)
  [3325] The Olympic Torch, and Melksham House - (2011-06-14)
  [3438] Melksham to become a part of Trowbridge? - (2011-09-13)
  [3592] Are we one man, one vote? No, and we never have been. - (2012-01-26)
  [3676] Rising prices, changing habits and society - (2012-03-31)
  [3806] 2011 Census results - initial figures for Wiltshire. - (2012-07-17)
  [3845] Good cause giving - getting the charity beggars off the street - (2012-08-21)
  [3921] On rememberance, on war, and on preventing the war cycle - (2012-11-11)
  [4079] Melksham Area - Unitary Council results, May 2013 - (2013-05-04)
  [4223] Democracy - alive and well with the beauty pagent starting up again - (2013-12-16)
  [4343] Politics and the railway the connects Wiltshire - (2014-12-06)
  [4354] Wiltshire Police - assuming someone is guilty just on the say-so of a member of the public? - (2014-12-16)
  [4548] Melksham - two small townships, or one big one? - (2015-10-22)
  [4597] Not standing as your local councillor - (2015-12-18)
  [4614] PC Plod - alive and scaremongering in Wiltshire? - (2016-01-04)
  [4720] Celebrating our diversity rather than discriminating for it - (2016-11-02)
  [4725] Writing Python 2 such that Python 3 is easy - (2016-11-06)
  [4729] The oldest part of Los Angeles - (2016-11-23)


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Melksham Chamber of Commerce - my final Presidents report
Our changing world
Thoughts on the new Blackmore Ward of Melksham Without Parish
Python examples - updates under way
Reviewing TransWilts performance 2015-16
To Oceanside and San Clemente Pier
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