WORK on the £23 million Melksham Campus will not be completed until January 2021 a shocked audience of more than 200 people heard on Wednesday evening.

John Thomson, Wiltshire Council deputy leader and cabinet member for campuses, attended a Melksham Area Board meeting at the Melksham United Church, alongside the Council’s director for communities, Laurie Bell.

Just over £9.8m has been invested so far in the campus but the next phases will include turning Melksham House into residential apartments and using some of the site for housing, two proposals that were not in the original plan.

Cllr Thomson said Wiltshire Council continues to face financial pressures and needs to find £45m of savings over the next three years.

This has meant a review of the Melksham House site to accommodate the provision of the final part of the campus project – the new health and wellbeing centre – as well as the outdoor clubs and some residential development.

He said: “We are finalising the work required and we’re determined to start delivery on a campus that the whole community area can be proud of.”

Cllr Martin Pain, who attended the meeting, said: "The audience reaction was one of shock and disappointment. They were showing dissatisfaction and there were some sarcastic comments.

“They are still in the preliminary design process for the next few phases and this is unacceptable. They have had seven years to work on this.”

Funding for the new centre will come from borrowing, from the sale of the town library, the Christie Miller site and the Canberra Youth Centre Building, and by using some of the site for residential housing.

A business case outlining all the details of the project and its financing will be considered by Wiltshire Council’s cabinet in December.

The next facilities to be built include a swimming pool, fitness suite, library/community hub, sports hall, squash courts, a GP surgery, outdoor bowls, cricket and tennis facilities and a café, and office accommodation for Melksham Without Parish Council.

Investment so far includes the state-of-the-art Oakfields rugby and football facilities (£7.3m); the Fifth Skate Park in King George V Playing Fields (£200,000); the Market Place re-generation (£660,00), which includes £30,000 of town council funding; and a new cricket and tennis pavilion (£337,000) on the Melksham House site.