Demolition work has begun at the Melksham House site, marking the first step towards the historic building becoming a flexible workspace and a multi-purpose facility for the community.
At its meeting in December 2021, Wiltshire Council’s cabinet agreed to release £2.8m funding, to go towards the £2m already in place, to refurbish and redevelop the Melksham House site, as well as demolish the Blue Pool.
The council had previously budgeted for the works to secure the future of the site as part of a planning condition for the Melksham Community Campus project.
Preparatory demolition work has started on the site this week, with the refurbishment work due to get under way later this year once Melksham Community Campus, which is located on the same site, has opened. The works include the demolition of newer parts of the building as well as the removal of some of the internal fittings and finishes.
The refurbishment work will provide flexible office and meeting room spaces, and the community hall at the rear of the building will be restored to create multi-use activity spaces. The improvements will include modern sustainable technologies such as LED lighting, air source heat pumps photovoltaics and vehicle charging points.
A scheme for the redevelopment of the Melksham House was given planning consent in October 2021.
A portion of the funding will also go towards demolishing the Blue Pool building following the opening of Melksham Community Campus later this year. The future of the site itself is not known at this stage, but more opportunities and options will be available to the council once the building is demolished. Wiltshire Council is hoping to work with Melksham Town Council to investigate how they can work together to develop opportunities in Melksham Town centre.
Cllr Phil Alford, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Strategic Assets, said: “Although in the very early stages, it’s good to see activity on the ground take place for this project.
“One of our top priorities in our new Business Plan is a thriving economy and after a challenging period following the pandemic, a workspace like this will certainly be an attractive asset for the town and local area.
“The construction of the campus continues to make excellent progress and we look forward to work formally starting on the refurbishment of Melksham House once that opens later in the year.”