Wiltshire Air Ambulance (WAA) held a public consultation event on Wednesday 12 August for local residents and businesses to find out about its proposed new home to base the charity’s helicopter, aircrew and office staff.
The charity has been searching for a site for its new home for over a year and its preferred location is on land at Outmarsh Farm, Semington, (immediately south of Hampton Park West Industrial Estate) – between Melksham, Trowbridge and Devizes.
The 12.6 acre site is centrally located which would enable the helicopter to reach all parts of Wiltshire within 11 minutes.
As Melksham does not have an ambulance station, the charity believes that WAA would provide enhanced medical cover for the area. WAA’s Critical Care Paramedics have advanced medical skills and as well as responding in the helicopter, they use a Rapid Response Vehicle (car) to attend medical emergencies including road traffic collisions, heart attacks and strokes.
At yesterday’s public consultation event held at Trowbridge Rugby Club, people had the opportunity to talk with the project team and architects and give their feedback to the proposals. A total of 125 people attended.
Mandy Clarke, Chairman of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: “We would like to thank everyone who attended our public consultation event to find out about our new home plans. The feedback we receive is really important to us as want to work in partnership with local people, be good neighbours and develop plans that people of Wiltshire can be proud of.”
WAA Chief Executive David Philpott added: “The charity’s new home would cost in the region of £3 million to build and equip. A private benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has agreed to fund 75 per cent of this amount to pay for the building cost, which we are extremely grateful for. We will need to raise the remainder, amounting to some £750,000, to fit out and equip the building. In time, we will launch a Capital Appeal to raise this money as we want the people of Wiltshire to feel very much involved in our new home project,” said .
Currently the helicopter and aircrew are based at a hangar at Wiltshire Police Headquarters in Devizes, while the charity team is based at offices at Porte Marsh Industrial Estate, Calne. The lease on the hangar runs out on 31 December 2017 and the lease on the offices runs out at the end of January 2018.
The benefit of owning its own land would mean the charity has full control of its future and not subject to the uncertainty that renting can bring.