AN OFFICIAL opening of Oakfields in Melksham saw Wiltshire Council members, representatives from the sports teams and local MP Michelle Donelan come together to celebrate.

The new £7.3million hub in Eastern Way was officially opened by the Wiltshire MP and councillors to mark a step forward in the Melksham Campus plans. As well as representatives from Wiltshire Council, special guest Alex McLoughlin, the former Swindon and Portsmouth footballer, visited the grounds.

The 1,733 square metre sports centre is now home to Melksham Town FC and Melksham Rugby Club as well as both junior and senior teams.

Miss Donelan said: “The new facilities are absolutely stunning and will inspire people to become active in local sport. I am very confident that the participation levels at both the football and ruby clubs will rise dramatically and both clubs are talking about increasing the numbers of teams, particularly for women and girls and increasing the disability sport that they offer.

The new facilities are a testament to the years of hard work from a team of dedicated volunteers and are a community asset that the whole town should be very proud of.”

Although the sports grounds were delayed a number of times, the clubs are welcoming the new hub with open arms.

Dave Wiltshire, Chairman of Melksham Town FC, said: “This brilliant facility will enhance the work we are already doing to make this a superb community football club. We already have nearly 600 players signed up, so we really need this. I’m amazed by how it looks and it’s great to see it fully used.”

Pat Holtom, Chairman of Melksham RFC, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to grow rugby in the town. I’m looking forward to more and more people getting involved including volunteers, parents and of course players. A big thanks must go to everyone who has helped make this a reality.”

Wiltshire Council cabinet member for campuses, John Thomson, is now looking to the future for Melksham with focus on the renovation of the Market Place and the skate park.

Cllr Thomson said: “It’s fantastic this wonderful new facility is complete and already the community has turned out in their droves to support it. We have committed significant investment into Melksham to deliver this new sports facility, the Market Place re-development, a new skate park and a health and wellbeing centre for the Melksham community.

“Woolmore Farm is the first phase of this project and the improvements to the Market Place are now underway, with work to provide the new skate park starting in April.”