A PROPOSAL to create one unified council for the Melksham area has moved forward to the next stage.

Locals will be consulted in January on proposals to merge Melksham Town Council and Melksham Without Parish Council.

Two options have been submitted under Wiltshire Council's Community Governance Review – a complete merger of Melksham Town Council and Melksham Without Parish Council or a merger of the two councils excluding Shaw and Whitley, who would form a new parish council.

Melksham Town clerk Linda Roberts said: "It is not something that we initiated. It has come from Wiltshire Council, who asked us to propose it as an expression of interest.

"It is probably not going to be an easy one to call. With anything like this, there are always going to be mixed views."

The proposed merger is certain to re-ignite locate debate, echoing the merger proposals put forward in 2015.

Four years ago, Wiltshire Council rejected a proposed merger of the councils on the grounds the existing structure provided effective and convenient local government.

MWPC is "totally against" a merger while the town council feels one combined council is in the best interests of the local community.

The parish council has requested a boundary review, acknowledging that two new housing developments would sit better within the town council's area.

The proposal would affect 100 new Barratt homes at Sandridge Place and 450 new Barratt and David Wilson homes known as Hunters Wood to extend the east of Melksham.

MWPC has also asked for the BRAG picnic area near the Kennet & Avon Canal to be transferred from Seend Parish Council's area to its area.