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So inconsiderate

IRON Horse landlady Sandra Willoughby has made a generous gesture by allowing her car park to be used by school run vehicles, “Pub landlady comes to the rescue of school” (SA February 3).

The inconsiderate parking during the school run has been an ongoing issue on and near Inverary Road for many years. It was reported that cars are blocked on their driveways and vehicles have nearly collided with pupils resulting in a number of near misses.

In his letter to parents, principal James Povoas said he is “increasingly concerned about student safety” and called on parents to use the car park of the Iron Horse pub.

This is not the only problem parking which the authorities have neglected for many years. There are similar ongoing occurrences outside the infants school on Wharf Road.

This is a busy main road used by heavy vehicles and fast moving traffic. The children using this school are very young so it’s a really bad combination.

Within the so-called school safety zone vehicles cause obstruction, park on yellow lines, park on grass verges and park on pavements. Drivers get children in and out of vehicles on the road side, swing car doors open in front of oncoming traffic and do U-turns in front of oncoming traffic.

The same vehicles can be seen parking here day after day, week after week, and year after year. There are car parks within a very short distance of Wroughton Infants School but the people who park in the school safety zone appear to be too idle to walk anywhere.

I suggest those who have created persistent parking problems outside the infants school are probably those who go on, as their children get older and change school, to create the parking problems outside the junior school in Inverary Road. They act with impunity because they know the authorities will do nothing to stop them.

Mr Povoas says he has “sought the support of local borough councillors.” I recommend he doesn’t hold his breath. These are problems which our local borough councillors have been fully aware of for years but have done next to nothing to resolve.

Wroughton Parish Council has an ineffective Environment and Road Safety Committee which is about as much use as a chocolate fire guard. They are incapable of recognising, let alone acting on, genuine road safety problems.

Angus Mcpherson, the Police and Crime Commissioner is a local man. Why doesn’t he help to justify his position by doing something about these safety issues?

These problems could be resolved but any change to the current situation requires determination and integrated action by the relevant authorities. Until that happens nothing will change. The unnecessary risks to public safety and disruption to peoples’ lives will continue.


Wharf Road



Ruling the waves?

I SEE some Tory MPs are still braying for a new Britannia ship for the hard-up monarchy.

How desperate they are for gongs.

While our European neighbours were investing in modern public infrastructure 1950s Britain was spending an unprecedented sum on the new royal yacht Britannia during times of hardship, rationing and suffering.

In its early days the once penniless, newly married Duke of Edinburgh passed weeks away on the lavish floating palace, with the taxpayer stoking cash into the boiler furnaces to propel the ship from one sun-drenched destination to another.

Even in the ‘90s the ship was the luxury vantage-point from which the Duke could scan the yacht racing for the duration of Cowes week. This had been just one of his regular outings, little publicised, which had been going on for years at a basic £70, 000 a day to run it (even more today), courtesy of taxpayer.

Then there was the wastrel, Princess Margaret, and her ex-commoner mother, with her self awarded title of ‘Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’ happy to holiday-sail the sun-drenched seas courtesy of taxpayers, under the guise of “Sacrifice” and “duty.”

New Britannia (1953) was agreed by a reluctant Parliament on the promise of it being being able to fulfil the dual role of a hospital ship in times of crisis.

However, despite Suez and and subsequent conflicts, no such function ever materialised.

The vessel was sold to the country under false pretences, a gratuitously extravagant pleasure craft used largely for private royal holidays and honeymoons, by assorted family members rather than Commonwealth visits. It is unlikely that there was any intention to use it as a hospital ship, not even during the Falklands conflict because -it ran on the wrong fuel! ( A silent one so as not to disturb their precious sleep)

During the height of the Cold War it had another less well-known function. In the event of a nuclear war, it was envisaged that the royals could hastily embark on her and take to the waters off Scotland, where the liner could lurk safely out of sight of Soviet radar, sheltering in the many lochs.

One can picture Charles, the king that never was, eager to get away from champagne-guzzling princess Margaret and snapping corgis below deck, stood on deck in naval uniform, medals strewn across his chest for being nice to the corgis, saluting his beloved nuked Duchy.

From 1983 until 1990 it had cost an astonishing £44m in repairs alone.

Britannia was used on “export promotion” activities for an average of just nine days in each of the last seven seven years of its “working” life.

Its much proclaimed “business use” was virtually a myth.

Come the end of Britannia, the Princess Royal wanted it to be scuttled (not justifiable on environmental grounds). She felt the vessel would suffer the “indignity” of the public having access to it. Yes-that’s what these high class welfare-benefit claimants really think of us-taxpayers money purchased it, remember!

At the vessel’s decommissioning ceremony, the Queen shed a few tears. No display of emotion was shown at her daughter-in-laws funeral, Diana, Princess of Wales, however.

Germany remains Europe’s leading economy, a position gained during the period of Britannia’s existence, but somehow managed to obtain all this without the staggering expense of a royal yacht.

Britannia is an interesting example of the particularly indulgent way in which the post-Second World War British monarchy was treated, in sharp contrast to the privations endured by the population as a whole still recovering from the after-effects of the devastating war where many had given their lives knowing the true meaning of duty and sacrifice.





Surface tension

ANOTHER bad slip, trip, fall - call it what you will - caused by the poor road surface between the library and the travel agents at the North Orbital centre in clear view of the police station and our local MPs Justin Tomlinson’s office.

I really cannot believe no one from all of these locations has noticed how bad and dangerous for pedestrians this block paved road is.

This section of road claimed another innocent pedestrian on Monday February 6 - a lady crossing the road took a bad fall caused by the uneven road surface.

The main reason the block paving is so bad here is because when it was laid the sub base used for the blocks was either not strong enough, wrong materials were used, poor workmanship, poor compaction - all of these needed to be spot on to take the weight of the buses which trundle through here.

Someone somewhere in the planning department signed this off to use blocks on a road which should have been Tarmaced.

The amount of rainwater holding in this road is crazy. It’s not rocket science to know that the weight of buses and coaches is a lot greater than cars and to use blocks to take this sort of traffic and weight defies logic. The road is a mass of ruts and is dangerous.

The lady in question who took this fall is known to myself and family and I’m sure she would like to thank publicly the kind lady from the Seqol centre who attended and treated her for the cuts and bruises caused by this poorly maintained section of road.


Haydon Wick



Wonderful care

I HAD a blind auntie who lost her sight at age 27. I had to put her into a care home at the age of 86 as all of her family had passed away. A new matron took over the home and at the age of When she was 98 I was phoned one day to be told that she had to be removed and put into a nursing home, as she could no longer go to the toilet on her own. One night at this ‘so say’ care home, she fell out of bed. She was told that she would have to stay on the floor till morning, due to health and safety, as there were only two staff on duty. One of the night staff phoned her husband and he came and put her back to bed.

The care she should have received was sadly lacking at this “so say” care home (it was shut down some years later).

Why I write this letter is to say that I got my auntie into James Dunn’s care home. He came to see her and told me that he had a room. He ordered the taxi and supplied the wheelchair to take her to Highworth from the residential care-home. As we left the home, no-one was there to see us out and we left closing the door behind us.

The first thing that James’s staff did was to give her a bath. She told them that this was her first bath in five years! James would go up in an afternoon and sit and talk to her. He is a loving and caring man.

She had her 100th birthday and they decorated the room for her. The postman delivered the card from the Queen. I can remember my auntie saying how happy she was and how kind the staff were. She said the first Christmas James took her downstairs and sat by her for their Christmas dinner. They pulled a cracker. A plastic ring fell out and she said “We got engaged.”

James and some of his staff came to her funeral a few weeks after her 100th birthday. They had to leave after the service as James’s wife was in labour.

Lovely home. Lovely people. Can I book a room for the future?

He told me when I first met him that he cares for all of his residents till the end.


Scotby Avenue



We’re still waiting

AS we fast approach the seventh anniversary of the farcical Digital UK initiative in which Swindon councillors ‘invested’ and lost over £400k we should take time to reflect on where we are in regard to the recovery of that money.

Wiltshire police were assured the money would be returned to council coffers and on at least two occasions senior councillors assured your readers that the full £400,000 plus interest of 20 per cent would be repaid. It has never been repaid.

On 8 October 2012 officers advised the council’s Scrutiny Committee that Digital City’s successor had implemented a 4G high speed superfast broadband facility covering 67,000 households and 2,600 local businesses.

Sadly, that wasn’t quite correct and it was UKB’s sister company which received just under £2m of public funding in 2014 which was tasked with completing 95 per cent coverage of the borough, something which many thought had already been achieved four years earlier.

It will come as no surprise to note that UK Broadband, heralded by SBC as being “the only opportunity” to improve the online experience for residents and businesses, has been sold to mobile operator Three.

While the amount paid is significant, this recognises the strategic value of the licences held by UKB and not the absurdly low customer base of 15,000, most of whom are in London. Clearly the take up in Swindon has remained pitifully low.

UKBN has received funding but failed to provide the promised service to 101,000 households in the timeline promised in its proposal which was backed by Coun Garry Perkins, who encouraged his colleagues to support UKBN. in yet another devastating indictment of his ability to spout rubbish wWe should recall his confident assurance that “we can make 100 per cent coverage a reality in the not too distant future.” He maybe should have added ‘but not under my watch’.

The good news is that Swindon continues to be served by companies with a proven track record in broadband provision and O2 has announced Wanborough will soon be able to experience faster mobile internet.


Caraway Drive