COUNCILLORS are in for a long night tomorrow evening when the full council meets for the first time since the summer break to discuss the impact of the half marathon closures, neighbourhood plans, and drug problems.

Members from all parties will gather at the Civic Offices in Euclid Street from 7pm to engage in debate with no fewer than seven motions on the agenda.

Motions are put forward by councillors and seconded, most often by another colleague from their own party, to make a point on a certain issue.

They state a position, and then call, on behalf of the council, for a certain individual or group to take action in response.

Where the topic at hand is politically contentious, the motion can often be met with a counter motion put forward by the other side in the form of an amendment. The ensuing debate can get rather heated.

Kicking off the long list of discussion points, Conservative councillors Brian Ford and Cathy Martyn will introduce a motion noting the recent planning appeals that have gone against the views and decisions of local councils, parish and town councils, and residents who have voted for neighbourhood plans. It will request that the Government changes the way the required three and five year housing land supply is calculated, including all permissions and not just those that have been put into action.

Conservative cabinet member, Mary Martin, will move a motion looking at the issue of pavement obstructions and concerns raised by ward members, particularly around the nuisance caused to residents with pushchairs, mobility scooters or impaired vision.

London councils have more enforcement powers to tackle the problem and Coun Martin’s motion will call on Swindon’s MPs to lobby for those powers to be extended to local authorities beyond the capital.

Coun Martin will be back on her feet soon after when she seconds a motion brought forward by Conservative councillor for Lydiard and Freshbrook, Tim Swinyard.

It will call on the council to express its opposition to proposals which could see four houses built within the essential setting of Lydiard Park. A similar motion opposing a nearby development earlier this year received near-unanimous support.

After three motions moved by the administration, the attention will shift to the opposition parties with Labour’s Chris Watts and Derique Montaut jointly raising the issue of policing and, in particular, the consequences of limited funding and resources.

Introducing a motion on statutory homelessness, their party colleagues Emma Bushell and Bob Wright will call on the council to look at its delivery of social housing and will urge Swindon’s MPs to lobby the Government on the underlying causes around housing and the benefits system.

Lib Dems Stan Pajak and Dave Woods will raise the issue of drug taking, particularly in public spaces, and call on the council’s scrutiny committee to look at the increase in drug-related litter around town.

In the only cross-party motion of the night, Councillors Bushell and Pajak will praise the organisers and participants involved in the Swindon Half Marathon earlier this month and call on the council’s highways team to assess the impact of the road closures that were put in place.

Before the councillors get to grips with the motions before them, there will be an opportunity for the public to ask questions of the council leader and his cabinet members. Questions do not have to be submitted in advance.