A big milestone reached with the lease on the Melksham Hub Depot site signed!

It has been a long road, getting through the ‘preliminaries’ phase. During this phase we have obtained planning permission, negotiated the lease and importantly secured sufficient funding from a variety of grant sources to enable us to get started in July 2020.

Of course, we have had the unforseen challenge of Covid-19. It has affected us in several ways, it delayed negotiations, severely affected the railway and the public’s confidence in travel. This will take time to recover and the future is difficult to predict. However, our Board took the decision to continue taking a long-term view. The business plan does not envisage any significant recovery in passenger numbers in the first year, but we need to ensure that those who need to travel have the benefit of improved facilities. Whilst we are required to pay a commercial lease, as part of the Covid-19 we have been supported with a rent free first year from Wiltshire Council.

Now that construction work is able to start, we are planning to carry out the major works as soon as we can, starting in July/August depending on the contractor and the availability of materials.

GWR are coordinating with us carrying out platform works including the installation of information display screens. Parking spaces alongside the platform will become 30 minute short stay with more disabled. parking spaces.

The existing Wiltshire Council car park will become an ANPR paid for parking in August with 2 electric charging spaces. An extension ramp will be constructed behind the depot building to link the existing car park to the extra car parking area.

Work will continue through August and September finishing when the depot building is converted to a cafe. The cafe should be available for opening in October depending on the eventual cafe operator and fitting out requirements.

The final phase will be the piazza area with outdoor seating and canopy. The existing fence height will be reduced and a pedestrian exit provided. A linking pedestrian crossing and refuge point will be constructed from the car park to the platform. This is being funded by Wiltshire Council.