Park Library campaign success

March 20, 2017

Faced with the prospect of an end to funding for Park Library, Parks & East Walcot Community Forum called a meeting to discuss the situation. The individuals and organisations that attended agreed to campaign for the Council to maintain Park Library as part of its core service. We managed to raise 1,200 signatures and were able to speak to a full council meeting in support of this demand.

The council tried to press us into discussing a community group or some other organisation taking over the running of the Library. We refused to do this since it would have given the signal to the council that we had accepted that they were going to end financial support. We said that we would concentrate on pressing them to include Park Library in the core service. Unless we had stood our ground on this then it’s unlikely that the council would have amended their proposal to include Park Library. Read the rest of this entry »


Park Library kept open, but…

December 1, 2016

Park Library is to remain open and funded by Swindon Council. This is a success for our campaign which raised 1200 signatures calling on the council to amend their proposal to include Park in the core Library service. Better open than closed. Yet the council is only funding 15 staffed hours a week. This is clearly not enough. Parks & East Walcot Community Forum will therefore be seeking to persuade the new parish council, which is being imposed on us, to provide funding to extend the staffed hours. We will be writing to the councillors who will make up the shadow parish council in our area to ask them to provide funding so that there is a service available which more accurately reflects the needs of local people. We know this won’t be straight-forward. However, we are concerned about young people who currently use the library to do their homework after school hours, and the threat to other services currently provided in our library.

Parks & East Walcot Community Forum has proposed a meeting between councillors and community organisations to discuss the setting up of the new parish, what the precept will be, what services it might support. Local communities should be involved in discussion on these questions before a precept is set. We will raise the question of support for Park Library in those discussions. Read the rest of this entry »

Park Library petition – Catch 22 Swindon style

November 5, 2016

Swindon Council has refused to table Parks and East Walcot Community Forum’s petition for discussion at the November council meeting. The petition, which has more than 1,100 signatures, calls on the council to amend their proposal to include Park Library in the core provision of the new Library service. Both the committees section and the Lead Member were told that we wanted the petition discussed at the November meeting. We also informed the Lead Member that we intended to put in a copy to the consultation as well. We did not receive the courtesy of a reply from her.

The head of the so-called Democratic Services has refused to take the petition at the November meeting on the grounds that we gave a copy of the petition into the Libraries consultation together with our submission. What sense would it have made not to let them know more than 1,100 people were supporting our suggested amendment to their proposals, and have it recorded in their report? Read the rest of this entry »

Parishes proposal: the electors must decide

November 20, 2015

This is written on behalf of Parks & East Walcot Community Forum, of which I am the Secretary.

Yesterday Parks & East Walcot Community Forum discussed the Community Governance Review being launched by Swindon Borough Council – the proposal to devolve some of its services to new parish Councils in the main body of the town (covering roughly 97,000 electors) where none currently exist.

It was agreed that the Forum would oppose introducing new parishes and call for a referendum of the non-parished areas on whether or not they should be set up.

The Forum felt strongly that such a significant reorganisation of local government in the town should not be a decision for a few dozen Councillors. The imposition of new parishes where no mandate exists would be completely undemocratic. Read the rest of this entry »

Keep Buckhurst Field a public open space

March 9, 2015

I’m not sure what evidence Elizabeth Mackley has that the proposal by the New College Corporation in relation to Buckhurst Field has been “well received”. Certainly the College management has cultivated support from local football clubs by promises of its use at prices they can afford. However, we don’t know what prices and we were told that their Business Plan would not be ready before the planning application is put in. Mr Taylor told me in an email that the prices will reflect ‘the going competitive rate’ whatever that is. We fear that the football clubs would be mistaken to trust the management of the New College Corporation, especially in the light of its deteriorating financial situation. Read the rest of this entry »

Buckhurst field and the New College Corporation

February 28, 2015

New College is shortly to put in an application for an all-weather football pitch on Council owned Buckhurst field1 which sits on the edge of Park North and Walcot. The New College management are looking to the Council to give it a 25 year lease. The cost of the pitch would be £600,000 with £300,000 provided by the Wilts FA. The FA fund says that “priority will be given to those that can demonstrate that it draws a significant proportion of its participants from neighbourhood deprived areas”, although we can find no definition of “significant”. The pitch would be fenced, floodlit and open until 10 p.m.

New College held a consultation meeting recently. They had obviously not expected many people to turn up since they chose a small room which was packed out. There were a number of local representatives of football clubs as well as some of us from the Parks & East Walcot Community Forum, from SWAP (Swindon Walcot and Parks Community Group), and some local residents who could be affected by the scheme. A number of football clubs are in favour of it because they have been told it will be a facility they can use at a price which is affordable. Local community groups are opposed to the proposal because they want the area to remain a public open space. (Download a PDF here buckhurst article or read on below) Read the rest of this entry »

A Municipal Bus Service or “a fully commercial service”?

October 25, 2012

This is a letter to the Swindon Advertiser

A Municipal Bus Service or a “fully commercial service”?

In Keith Williams comments to the Advertiser we can catch a glimpse of the future and it doesn’t look very pretty. He told bus users “to expect to walk further to catch a bus in future”. Unfortunately you cannot“protect services” as Keith says he wants to do by reducing the quality of them. If you are fit and active then a short walk will not be a problem to you. However, if you are aged, infirmed, or suffering from a chronic illness, then seemingly minor alterations to a bus service can adversely affect the quality of your life. Read the rest of this entry »

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