TransWilts has been awarded a £2,400 grant from the Designated Community Rail Development Fund (DCRDF) for the production of a business plan for vacant land at Melksham Station.
As a designated line, TransWilts has access to funding from the Department of Transport administered by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP).
Fifty percent matched funding was required to secure the DCRDF grant and has been provided by Melksham Rail Users Group, Melksham Town Council, Melksham Without Council, Melksham Area Board and TransWilts small projects fund.
The number of passengers using Melksham station has grown substantially from less than 10,000 per annum in 2013 to 75,000 in 2016/17. Service capacity has been doubled in 2018 with the introduction of two car trains. The existing one-car platform is being extended by Network Rail to accommodate up to three-car trains during this year.
Consequently Transwilts is seeking to improve the passenger facilities at Melksham Station. The proposals will include better station access, a bus stop, additional car parking and the conversion of an existing small reception building into a station community café with toilet and community rail office.
The purpose of the £4,800 business plan is to provide a budget cost for the community refurbishment project and determine if a viable scheme can be developed and delivered by leasing the vacant site. The introduction of car parking charges at the station would be required in order to finance the station plan improvements.
The business plan will be completed by May 2018 to inform discussions to be held with Wiltshire Council. The opportunity has arisen from work being conducted by Atkins on behalf of Wiltshire Council, for a Melksham Station Master Plan, which is being partially funded by a £60,000 grant award to TransWilts from the GWR Customer and Communities Improvements Fund (CCIF). The output from this study will include the feasibility and design of a northern access pedestrian route to the station and associated public realm improvements around the station.
Assuming the scheme is viable, TransWilts will be seeking to involve the local community and Melksham businesses in the project to refurbish the community café building.
Paul Johnson Chair said “ We are delighted to secure this DCRDF grant which supports our ongoing commitment to improve the station facilities at Melksham for the local rail users and the Melksham community as a whole. The station is an important and visible gateway to the town and the rapid growth of passenger numbers has outstripped the current facilities at Melksham. An important consideration in any future proposal is the continuing prosperity of the businesses around the station whilst segregating potential passenger traffic growth.”