A major manufacturing firm is looking to move its international headquarters to Melksham.
Herman Miller, which produces office furniture, has applied to Wiltshire Council to build a new 17,000sq m facility on the Bowerhill industrial estate, to the south of the town.
The firm wants to amalgamate its current offices in Chippenham and its factory in Bath at a single location off Portal Road, housing 150 employees.
The application includes plans to build a link road connecting the A350 to the estate, easing traffic on Western Way. Building the road would mean demolishing AFC Melksham’s football pavilion, which would be replaced by a new facility. The application makes provision for “space for the local youth club, four team changing rooms and two officials’ changing rooms, along with new car parking and cycle parking”, as well as “a new half-court basketball court facility to replace the existing facility adjacent to the pavilion.”
Mike Mills, the chairman of Melksham Without Parish Council, welcomed the firm’s application. He said: “There are a lot of positives coming out of this. It’s a massive boost for the area.
“The link road from Bowerhill industrial estate will go through, which is something we have been hoping to get for a long time. “We will get a new pavilion and an empty, derelict bit of land will finally have something there. The site has also had problems with travellers in the past, so this is good on that front, as well.”
Graham Dean, the operations director at Herman Miller, said: “We have been planning for a long time and finally got the planning application in in December. “All of our manufacturing, logistics and product design will be based at the new site. There will be no jobs lost; all those jobs will move from Chippenham to Melksham.
“The site itself will pretty much fill out the land, but we have accounted for our internal growth and what we do in that site will grow to accommodate our plans for the future.
“We hope for work to begin in Bowerhill in August this year.”
Graham Ellis, president of the Melksham Chamber of Commerce, said: “We would be delighted to see this go ahead. The Chamber of Commerce would very much welcome them to Melksham. “Bowerhill is a natural place for this kind of firm; there is a good pool of skilled people in the area.”
If Herman Miller’s application is approved, work on a new pavilion would begin immediately.
Mr Mills said: “The plans for the new pavilion have been approved, so it’s just the final details now ready to go.
“Once the application is approved, things are going to start moving very, very quickly. First we have to get the new pavilion built, then the old one can be knocked down and the road can be built.”
Plans will be discussed at the next Melksham Without Parish Council meeting on January 21, at 7pm, at Crown Chambers.