Club is moving the goalposts

Wiltshire Times: Melksham Town FC chairman Dave Wiltshire at The Conigre, the home of the club since 1926 Melksham Town FC chairman Dave Wiltshire at The Conigre, the home of the club since 1926

Melksham Town FC could move across town to a new “football campus”, if plans being developed by Wiltshire Council come to fruition.

The club, which has been at The Conigre ground on the Melksham House site since 1926, has to find a new home after Wiltshire Council bought the land from Cooper Tires last October, It will become a campus of council services, including a leisure centre, a youth club, a library and a swimming pool.

The council and club have been in talks for months about the move and now the club has been given permission to announce the plans.

The council’s preferred option is to create a new home for the club on its land at Woolmore Farm, off Devizes Road. That was the original site for the council campus.

Melksham Rugby Club is also moving from Melksham House, to Dunch Lane.

The football club hopes the Woolmore Farm site will include a new stadium, training pitches and club house.

Dave Wiltshire, Melksham Town chairman, said: “The council is intending to resite us by the new school somewhere. We’re happy to do so and we’ll obviously know more as time goes on.

“There are still stumbling blocks to go over, but we’re really looking forward to it.

“There will be a bit of sadness for people who’ve been involved in the club for years, but you’ve got to have the facilities.”

The club has been told the plan is to have it moved by this time next year, subject to feasibility studies and planning permission.

It is unclear what the project will cost and how it will be funded, although the council has committed to contributing to both the football and rugby club relocations.

The original campus project at Woolmore Farm was budgeted at £23m, but, with the move to Melksham House and relocating the clubs, it will now exceed that figure.

A council spokesman said: “The rugby club has expressed a desire to move to land at Dunch Lane that the council does not have a specific use for and we will work with the club to enable this.

“We will support and financially contribute towards the relocation of the football and rugby clubs, but there is not a specific budget.”

Mr Wiltshire said: “We’re batting our corner and we’re going to try and get everything we can. Undoubtedly, there’s funding to be had.”

Steve Clark, headteacher at Melksham Oak School, which borders the Woolmore Farm site, said: “We haven’t seen the detailed plans yet but our understanding is that it will bring superb facilities for Melksham and we fully support it.”

Plans for the council campus are expected to be submitted by the end of the year.

An update on the project is due to be presented at Melksham Area Board meeting on June 6, at Semington Village Hall at 7pm.

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