The Melksham, Calne and Chippenham Branch
of the
 Wilts & Berks Canal Trust
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Melksham, Calne & Chippenham Branch

Chairman's Report

April 2016 Branch Meeting


The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust EGM took place on Saturday 5th March in Wroughton. There was a reasonable turn out of Trust members and a great turn out from MCC branch members…thanks for those who attended and those who maybe wanted to attend but couldn’t make it.

Each of the new Directors gave an overview of themselves and their Directors roles.

Although CoM has been disbanded it was decided to keep the current membership of CoM as the Board of Trustees to allow the Executive to find their feet so to speak and come up to speed. Those members of Com who are now on the Executive have resigned as Trustees to enable them to take their posts i.e. Derek Flexer, Kath Hatton & Chris Coyle.  It is intended that the Board of Trustees will be a mixture of Trust Members (Inc one member voted for by the rest of the membership) and people from industry who will bring different overviews/expertise to the Trust.

The Project Directors roles have ceased to exist but our own Colin Fletcher has been asked to join the Board of Trustees and has accepted. Of course we hope Colin will continue to share his knowledge and expertise as a member of MCC and continue to assist with projects along our line.

The Executive will basically manage the day to day running of the Trust with the Board of Trustees taking a bi-monthly overview and having the final say over policy etc.  The branches will be represented on the Executive by one of the branch chair persons as voted by the other branch chairpersons. The first 3 year stint goes to Brian Stovold (Chairman of East Vale branch). Branch chairs will sit on the Executive but as non-voting members so I will still be bringing feedback to the branch from these meetings.
Due to the sensitive nature of some information and  the need to be able to speak freely about the smallest matters without these thoughts being misconstrued it has been decided the Executive meeting will be closed meeting but members of the Trust are encourage to attend the Trust Board Meetings which is where the main policies will be  decided upon.

I stood down from my role as IT Director for a number of reasons but have been asked to help Sheila Wade with the internal communications. I don’t see this affecting my role as MCC Chair but will review the situation in September to ensure this is the case. If you have any comments on problems/issues you encountered prior to the new structure I’d be keen to hear your comments either in person or by email.

Branch news
Ray and his mid-week team have been using the good weather to crack on with final areas of dredging and bund removal. It is hoped that the line will be clear from bottom lock to the meadow by the time you are reading this.

Annual Chippenham to Lacock walk: New Heritage Walk this year, from Chippenham to Pewsham Locks (and to Lacock for those that want to go that far) see events report for more information.

Branch boats:  Richard and Malcolm are putting together a policy with regards to Trust Boat Purchasing in an effort to get the ball rolling with the Executive so that we can then discuss the purchase of a Wheely Boat.

The same team are negotiating with regards to Damselfly and WCC licensing.
Richard is preparing for the good weather which will enable more paintwork to be sorted on Boswell. There is not a great deal of room for many volunteers to get involved with this work but if you are particularly keen please do contact Richard.

Fundraising. I was asked to withdraw an Area Board bid for a second user dumper as Kath had some intelligence on the amount of funds left with the Area Board. This I did and Kath’s bid to the Area Board resulted in us receiving funds for the Top Lock Project a surprising result but welcomed result.

On the point of dumpers. WPO’s have agreed we do still need second one and I have spoken with Mike Brotherwood, who donated the Godiva Fire Pump and trailer, and he is happy for us to sell it if it would help towards such a purchase. We have sufficient pumps now to be able to do this so we will investigate what price we may be able to get for the pump and trailer unit before a final decision is made.

Peterborough Arms.
A Project Manager has been found and work on the Community rooms has started. As the volunteer coordinator I have listed a huge list of jobs that need doing (both professionally and by volunteers) and these are being sorted. The local area has lost a venue used by the community so the availability of these rooms is now more important. Planned open date is 31st may but some flexibility has been built in J.

Funding- there is the potential for us to gain funding for Top Lock and the cottage see Fundraising report for more info

Work parties

Despite not being able to access the green lane in December (Malcolm’s Christmas tree sales prevent this) we have made good progress on the wet section at Pewsham and clearance work on the section south of the A4. We have also attracted 4 new work party members over the past month or two.

Negations have also allowed us to get two recently acquired trailers to a commercial greenhouse locally. Plenty of light, not surprisingly, power and space so refurbishment of these two trailers should be comfortable and hopefully straight fwd.

Lease on land north of Pewsham Top Lock – I understand that the paperwork is currently with the lawyers so we can’t say exactly when the land will become available but progress is being made.

Membership- I would encourage you all to get more members into our branch during 2016, inc close family and friends, who wouldn’t want to support you in your endeavours to get the W&B connected to the river Avon at Melksham?? For just £10 or £15 per annum? Perhaps we should ask friend/family to purchase a membership instead of buying birthday presents J. We will of course continue to spread the word at events and along the tow path and encourage more people to join us.

Dave Maloney

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Melksham, Calne & Chippenham Branch

Work Party Report

January 2016 Branch Meeting

I can report that the pump trailer and the work trailer are both finished thanks to Basil and his team. The pump trailer is now in storage at Doug’s place and the work trailer is up at Pewsham. The work trailer will come in very useful when working up at the A 4.  

Pewsham : We have been able to tidy up the footpath on  Doels land; this has met with approval from the walkers. The now filled in deep ravine has been planted with saplings. We have started the ongoing grass season; the top pound and the meadow have had their first cut.  
The midweek team have been very busy. The wet section has now been dredged. Before we can run Boswell we do still have 3 bunds that need to be removed, but before we can do that we need to make sure all the back is sound and we have no leaks etc. 
We have taken the bund out at the Meadow.

Ray Canter


A4 (North/South)

A4 South:  Jeff, Damian and Chris cleared the final trees from the Southern section and the work on the area we have permission to work on is now completed.
After a final flurry of hedge laying and planting whips in the gaps where necessary the work on this section has now stopped until after the bird nesting season  (1st August). WRG Forestry have asked to come and fell a number of large tress from this section (and two at Pewsham Top Lock) using rope techniques which will offer them valuable training.

We will need to carry out more scrub clearance up to the end of 2016 at which point we should have finished such work as per the environmental plan and 2017 work on tow path tidying will be planned. As mentioned previously we do not plan to spend any monies on ten two path until we have a longer lease and then probably only after we move secured permission form the next landowner which would take us to Stanley lane and the Chippenham/Calne cycle path.

Dave Maloney

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Melksham, Calne & Chippenham Branch

Events and Planning Committee

January 2016 Branch Meeting

Although no longer strictly an Event, I would like to thank the K&A Devizes branch for organising the annual skittles match and to Brian and Sandy Wright for their contribution in organising the MCC side of this social event. Sadly, despite a spirited first half that saw MCC in the lead, the pressure told in the second half and K&A run out deserved winner and retained the trophy.

The Quiz Night, held on a Saturday for the first time, was a really successful night with 22 teams competing for the top spot. I am sure the little grey cells were a bit sore at the end of series of testing questions.
Foxham & Lyneham retailed the Inter Branch Trophy with the MCC team of Brain, Sandy & Graham Wright plus Paul Lenaerts, came within 2 points of the winners.
The evening raised £416.

 My thanks to Paul Tucker for stepping so successfully in the breach and organising the Event and to everyone who help on the night.

The next Event is the Race Night on Saturday 21st May at the Conservative Club, Melksham. This event has the potential to be a good money earner for the Branch. To make this a success we need to get selling. Please get copies of Paul’s Race Programme and sell the horses listed to your friends at £2 a go. If everyone could sell 1 race, of 8 horses, we would cover all the set up costs and all monies taken on the night would be profit.
A copy of the Race Programme and how the winners are rewarded will be on the Branch web site in the near future.

Volunteers are required for the Chippenham Fold Festival on the 28th to 30th May. Plus, before and after the event to help set up and take down. Please let Richard Evans know if you can help.

The walk, now to be promoted as the Heritage Canal Walk, is on the 26th June. The walk team have completely revamped the walk format. Dave Maloney has identified a route to the Lock site taking walker past historic points on the Chippenham Arm. The walkers have a choice of continuing on to the Bell Inn at Lacock as normal or staying at the Lock site where there will be a mini family fun day.
The aim is to attract as many families at possible to the site. We plan to ask everyone that uses the tow path on that day for a donation. The other 364 days are free.

Plans for the Food & River Festival are well advanced. The Food team have already signed up more stall this year that last.
The rules for the raft race, on Saturday 3rd September, have now been completed and BD has received notification of the first entrant. We need at least 10 teams to make this work so please spread the word and give Brian the contact details so he can send out the documentation.
Plans are being progressed for a Saturday night Folk Concert in the activity centre
Two dates have now been confirmed for later in the year. I was agreed to run the Beer Festival again this year and the Date has been booked for Saturday 12th November at the Assembly Room in Melksham.

The second date to put in your diaries is for the Music Night on Saturday 15th October. The Collective, a very versatile 5-piece band has been booked.



Malcolm Hitchinson
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Melksham, Calne & Chippenham Branch

Melksham Link report

January 2016 Branch Meeting


Activities in March 2016 for Branch meeting April 2016
The new ‘bundle’ of documents including the Environmental Statement has been submitted to the Planning department at Wiltshire Council. They have acknowledged receipt but nothing has yet appeared on the Planning Website.

The full ES is available on the Partnership Website.
250 copies of the ‘Non Technical Supplement’ have been printed and are ready to be made available at County Hall and Melksham Town Hall free to interested members of the public.
We will be printing 4 copies of the full ES during April.

We have been invited to the next meeting of the Melksham Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group to discuss housing issues around Melksham.

The landowner situation has still not been resolved and route changes are being considered.
Mike Lee has made a start on plans for a permanent landing stage based on the disabled fishing peg at Melksham, plus all year round mooring on the Cooper Tires river bank.


Paul Lenaerts

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Melksham, Calne & Chippenham Branch

Talks report

Latest Report


March saw two talks delivered, to Calne 41 club & Melksham Institute of Advanced Motorists.

I have taken three new bookings, for Melksham Townswomen’s Guild (March) Wessex MG Owners Club (September) and Atworth History Group (April 2017)
April will see three talks

Alan Lank

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Melksham, Calne & Chippenham Branch

Funding Raising Report

January 2016 Branch Meeting


We are still waiting CRT to confirm the total amount of funding that will be made available. This is expected to be announced by the end of April.


Dave Maloney

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Melksham, Calne & Chippenham Branch

Publicity report

January 2016 Branch Meeting

  • Melksham Food & River Festival

It has been agreed to try and post articles about the festival at regular intervals to keep it in the public’s awareness; the first was based around a plea for volunteers:

  • In the Melksham Independent News online

The second article was about sponsorship from Waitrose, including a photo of a £500 cheque presentation. It also requested further sponsors, including for the planned Raft Race:

  • Published this week in Index Wiltshire online news website
  • Museum Activities 

Report will be published in next edition of Dragonfly

  • Quiz Night 

This was widely publicized via posters, Community Matters websites, Facebook and Gazette & Herald and Wiltshire Times What’s On sections of websites.

  • Melksham Link   

Paul Lenaerts sent in an article about the final submission of the document for Planning Permission.

  • This was published in the Melksham Independent News online
  • Top Lock

We have had a meeting with the Canal & River Trust PR Officer to agree a procedure and timetable for the PR for this project. The Launch will be in May at the Cotswold Canal’s project in Stroud, which we will hope to attend. Until then we have agreed not to release details, although we can publicise our restoration on Top Lock.

  • Heritage Lottery Fund Bid  (Overview of the process) 
  • The Bid Committee is in the final stages of preparing the 1st Round Application Form. We are being guided by Philippa Davies from HLF Exeter Office, and the submission date for this 1st Round Application is June 1st.
  • We will hear in September if we have been successful.
  • If successful, we will then have 12-18 months to plan the project in detail.
  • The 2nd Round Application will be submitted between Sept 2017 – March 2018. If all the planning and preparation is assessed as satisfactory, we will get the go-ahead in June 2018. (Timings approximate) This may tie in well with the completion of Top Lock and the Lock Cottage.

NB There are several PR opportunities in the pipeline:

  • Completion of dredging between Bottom Lock and Double Bridge
  • CRT project on Top Lock
  • Heritage Walk June 26th
  • Official launching/naming of Boswell


Ps - please could members inform VM or MH of any publicity not listed. Information is sent to many more than those listed above, but we are not always aware if it has been published or broadcast, especially free monthly magazines which have local distribution.

Val Melville

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Melksham, Calne & Chippenham Branch

Boat report

January 2016 Branch Meeting


Bob spent a day preparing for painting and undercoating, many thanks Bob.
Copious amounts of silicone sealant appear to have stopped the leak into the cabin through the doorway, but will make more work before a permanent repair can be done.
Mooring chains are complete

The new keel and frame is progressing and should be in place within a couple of weeks, complete with strengthening knees.
The timber for the external keels has been received and we will be working on that soon.
The trailer and launching trolley is nearing completion and will soon be ready for painting

Richard Evans

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