A FINAL decision is likely to be made in the new year on Wiltshire Council's plans to turn Melksham House into a residential care home for children and young adults.

The decision will rest with the Secretary of State for the Environment and will follow a report to cabinet in January.

The council says the relocation of Children’s and Adult Services to the Grade 2 listed house in 2021 would meet the established needs for children and young adults.

The council recently agreed to provide up to £5 million to ensure a viable end use for the early 18th century house just off Market Place in Melksham. It will take the total amount being spent on the building to £7 million.

Members of the council’s strategic planning committee have agreed to receive a further report to cabinet in January with a full business case giving a breakdown of the costs and the revenue consequences.

A Wiltshire Council spokesperson said: “We are committed to seeing Melksham House being brought back into use for the benefit of the community.

“We’ll have more details on that early next year when a report will be going forward to a cabinet meeting outlining a detailed business case for the future of the building.”

Earlier this month, planners approved proposals which would include the conversion of the main house to provide a residential care facility to support children and young people aged 10-18.

To the rear, Wiltshire Council proposes to build a community resource centre by refurbishing an old dance hall, and build 16 new supported living units.

The proposals were agreed by the council’s cabinet in October after Melksham House was taken out of the campus project because of wrangling over its future.

The council has approved a listed building application to demolish former outbuildings to the house, including the former stable block and remnants of garden walls and outbuildings associated with the kitchen garden.

The council also wants to alter the entrance to Melksham House by relocating one of the Grade 2 listed gate piers.

Both applications are subject to a final decision by the Secretary of State for the Environment.

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings has objected to the applications, saying it would harm the historic setting of Melksham House and have a significant impact on the character of the conservation area.