Melksham Without Parish Council
Bowerhill is a large modern expanding community with about 3,000 electors. It has a thriving school and village hall, which was opened by the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire in May 05. The Community Centre is used every night for a host of community organisations, representing every age group.
( Click here for the village hall website www.bowerhillvillagehall.co.uk).
Opening of New Hall
Another 333 dwellings were built to the east of Bowerhill, and these have helped to stimulate other shops and services in the village. Bowerhill has a Tesco Express, a fish and chip shop, a hair dressers and a play area. There is also a small shop at the garage on the main A365 close to the entrance to Bowerhill Lane.
The village millstone in Pathfinder Way, at the entrance to Bowerhill has had the old plaques renewed and the whole area has been enhanced by a bulb planting project.
In February 2009 the old water turbine in Lysander Road was renovated. This large, complex old piece of equipment has been transformed from a dirty rusty colour to smart heritage black and green. There are silver plates beneath the water wheel which tell its interesting story.
Bowerhill also has a magnificent playing field, in Westinghouse Way, known as Bowerhill Sports Field. This was part of the original RAF Melksham which opened in 1944 as a Technical Training School. Together with the running track land and gymnasium (now the Christie Miller Sports Centre), it provided a very fine sports complex for RAF cricket, rugby and athletics. In 1964 RAF Melksham closed and in 1970 Wiltshire County Council purchased the land. This beautiful 5 hectare playing field has never been enclosed and currently is in full use and enjoyed by Bowerhill residents as well as the wider Melksham area, for all sorts of formal and informal recreational pursuits. It has been a playing field in the true sense for nigh on 60 years. Apart from sport, there is an old Pavilion there as well, part of which is used weekly by young people at Bowerhill for a youth club. They also have an outside half-basketball court there.
2010 was a significant year for the Bowerhill Sports Field because Wiltshire Council formally agreed to transfer this land to the Parish Council. Earlier that year the Parish Council decided to ask the residents of Bowerhill if they wished to support the council's bid to take over the land and protect it in perpetuity as a public open space. As a result of the survey conducted by the Council, no less than 97.5% voted in favour of this proposal. In view of this overwhelming community mandate, the Melksham Area Board on 28th July, 2010 formally approved the transfer of the Sports Field (5.34 hectares) to the Parish Council for £1. Recently, Wiltshire Council has approved plans for a new manufacturing & storage facility, with offices, plant and associated infrastructure, including a new vehicular access from Portal Road, and which will include demolishing the existing Pavilionand erection of replacement Pavilion with a youth facility off Westinghouse Way.
Typical Sunny afternoon at Bowerhill Sports field in Spring 2010
Despite there being at least two signs at Bowerhill Sports Field banning the misuse of the sportsfield for golf and motorbikes, the Parish Council is still receiving complaints.
A resident was almost hit by a flying ball, and someone is still using the field for riding a motorbike. Please remember that this lovely amenity land is for everyone in the whole Bowerhill community to enjoy. Motorbike riding, and more hazardous ball games such as golf which could cause injury to others, are NOT PERMITTED.
Melksham Oak Community School
The Melksham Oak Community School opened in June 2010 and the Head Teacher Mr Stephen Clark reported that the move to the new build went very smoothly following literally years of planning. He commented that the students have responded very positively to the investment in them and in Melksham¬s future.
The school is named after the Melksham Oak, which grows nearby. The tree is on the ancient tree register and is also known as "Cromwell's Oak", reputedly because some of his unruly soldiers were hanged from its branches on his orders.
The Melksham Oak
Bowerhill Residents Action Group (BRAG) - Please click here for BRAG meeting minutes
Bowerhill has a thriving residents action group (BRAG) and the Parish Council has worked in partnership with BRAG to futher improve ammenities at Bowerhill.
BRAG, with financial help from local businesses has erected picnic tables at the bottom of the bridle path to the Kennet and Avon canal. Unfortunately on the official opening day many guests were lost trying to find the path. So new signposts directing people to and from the Kennet and Avon canal and Bowerhill and local facilities have now been ordered. Wiltshire Council have agreed to fund half of the costs with the other half being split between the Parish Council and the Residents Action Group.
Bowerhill Residents Action Group, Cllr Mike Mills, Wiltshire Cllr Roy While and residents at the official presentation of the picnic bench
The opening ceremony of picnic tables at Bowerhill on October half term 2010.
Click Here for a brief history of Bowerhill