COMMUNITY spirit is very high among the residents of the Penhill and Upper Stratton ward, who take a lot of pride in the area’s appearance.

Whoever wins the available seat in the local elections later in the month will have to ensure this is one of their top priorities.

While the roads in the area need some work, it is the state of the pavements which is causing concern to many residents.

Marilyn Beale, the secretary of the non-political Penhill Forum and active community volunteer, feels if something is not done then the vulnerable will suffer.

She said: “The roads are not great by any stretch but some of the pavements are in a really bad way.

“I use a mobility scooter because I cannot walk great distances and I have had to buy one with springs to deal with all the bumps.

“The biggest worry though is for the elderly people who must really struggle on them. A lot of the pavements are very uneven and full of cracks.

“What there is in the area though is a very active community full of people who want to help out so in that sense achieving things is a lot easier.

“We want whoever the councillor is to work with these community groups.”

There are other smaller issues with regards to appearance, which while seem inconsequential, also have an impact.

For example, Marilyn points to several street lights which have been out for some time but have yet to be repaired.

There are other issues which will need to be taken into account.

For Marilyn, it is very important the local councillors do what they can to maintain open spaces in the ward.

She said: “For those who know me making sure we keep all our open spaces is something which is very close to my heart.

“They provide the areas for people in the community to enjoy and relax so everything must be done to make sure none of these are lost.

“A lot of people rely on the buses around here so it is very important that we keep the services we have and they are not lost.”

With almost 9,300 turning out to vote, this ward saw the greatest number of votes cast in Swindon at the last election and so is an important seat.

In 2012, all three seats were won with a relatively large margin by the Labour candidates.


Bob HERITAGE (Green Party)
Harriet MALTBY (Conservative) 
David ROWLAND (UK Independence Party)
Joseph TRAY (Labour)

Turnout in 2012 election: 30 per cent (9,190 votes)

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