A group of residents are campaigning to preserve a huge green space the size of 29 football fields, which is up for sale in Melksham.

The land, which currently belongs to Cooper Tires, is up for sale after the company announced in October 2022 that their factory on Bath Road would be closing down.

While the overall land up for sale is 68 acres, over half of that is currently green space that runs alongside the River Avon.

Now residents are worried that developers, who are due to start bidding on the land in January, will urbanise the natural habitat and turn Melksham into a concrete jungle.

Wiltshire Times: Campaigners trying to save Melksham green space from development.Campaigners trying to save Melksham green space from development. (Image: Jennie Westbrook)

“I was first contacted by a group of residents who were concerned that the area wasn't in the Neighbourhood Plan as a space to be protected,” explained Melksham councillor Jennie Westbrook, who has joined the campaign.

“If we don’t change that then we risk losing it the green space, and right now we have the opportunity to do something but we’re running out of time” she added.

The Melksham Green Space campaign group launched a survey asking local residents to have their say on the Neighbourhood Plan and demand that the Cooper Tires’ current green site remains as a designated green space.

Currently, the survey has over 700 responses and counting.

“Originally we thought it would be nice if we could get 150 people involved, then 300, and it has just skyrocketed really, even within the first 24 hours,” added Coun Westbrook.

“The consultation for our neighbourhood plan closes on the 3rd of December and we are working our absolute hardest to get the community voices heard.”

Wiltshire Times: The Cooper Tires land is split into two sites: a 'brownfield' area and a 'greenfield' area.The Cooper Tires land is split into two sites: a 'brownfield' area and a 'greenfield' area. (Image: Cushman and Wakefield)

The first round of bids for Cooper Tires' land is due to begin on January 19, 2024, and real estate company Cushman & Wakefield say that although they would prefer to sell the land as a whole, they will consider selling it separately.

But for over 700 people in Melksham, the green space up for sale is so much more than just a plot of land for sale.

“It’s a space that we all grew up in. I’m from Melksham and I remember going down there as a child in the summer and playing hide and seek with my friends,” said Coun Westbrook.

“Melksham has had a massive growth in the last five years and people are very concerned that we’re losing our green space so in the midst of a climate emergency, it’s vital we save our environment for future generations to enjoy.

"We know there is a housing crisis but we also know that are excellent brownfield sites which need to be explored first," she added.