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Opportunity missed

WITH all the bad press and criticism from celebrities and some national media of Swindon being an ugly place, mainly the centre, you would think our council and planners would strive for good outstanding architecture with every new building and development.

You would think they would start creating a theme matching or having some similarity with the good existing buildings, as some seem hidden among the ugly buildings of poor quality.

The cinema overlooking the town hall and library extension is a perfect example of quality design that complements each other.

Sadly, a great opportunity has been missed again with the new building that will house the Metro bank.

Its new location on the crossroads of the Parade and Canal Street needed a building to enhance this focal point and do this junction justice, something special in design with perhaps a clock tower and key features from either the opposite building - Vodaphone & Coffee #1) - or the row of shops where Top Shop and Top Man begins. Both have style and a great look.

After seeing the plans for the bank it’s so disappointing that it is just a glass box that seems it must have been rushed through planning.

It is bland-looking, with not even a canopy over the ATM machines, no better than the plaza shops.

This glass box will not transform the corner, and it is such a shame.

We may be a dynamic town but we still want to be attractive like our neighbours, then more people will want to shop here. It’s that simple.

L WALSH, Boydell Close, Shaw, Swindon

Fight for more police

I’M WRITING with reference to recent articles in your newspaper regarding the lack of police presence in Swindon.

Swindon residents have become exasperated with the lack of police in their area to prevent crime and the lack of response when crime takes place.

The Conservative MP for North Swindon, Justin Tomlinson, has challenged the Conservative Police And Crime Commissioner for Swindon And Wiltshire, Angus Macpherson, to devote more resources to the frontline.

However, Angus has said that he needs more funding from Government in order to get more police officers on the streets. Both of these Conservative elected officials cannot be right.

I choose to believe Angus. The fact is that during the Government’s austerity agenda police budgets have been cut back and we cannot get away from the fact that budget cuts to the police will lead to a reduced police presence on the frontline.

This is why Labour proposed in the General Election to reverse this trend of police budget cuts and invest enough in the police to afford 10,000 new police officers.

Such an increase would have a significant impact on the police presence on our streets.

For those residents who are concerned about the lack of police presence on our streets to prevent crime, I would suggest they write to our two MPs who are our representatives in Westminster and urge them to lobby and vote for more money to be invested in our police force.

To Swindon’s two Conservative MPs I would urge you to work together in the best interests of our town to effectively lobby the government for more investment in policing.

Labour stands ready to put aside Party advantage and support our two Conservative MPs in this endeavour in order to achieve the best outcome for Swindon.

COUN STEVE ALLSOPP, Swindon Labour Group Deputy Leader

Take crime seriously

RE CRIME in Eldne and Liden. It has traditionally been important for communities to be aware of and in touch with a police presence in order to prevent crime; to address issues before they become too serious and lead to people taking the law into their own hands. Without legitimate assistance or redress anger boils over into hate crime.

The Government is culpable for failing to fund community policing and take crime seriously.

PR BAKER, Swindon

Venezuela’s reality

T MORE does no more than relay all the attacks on Venezuela made by the US government and right wing media. He ignores both the economic sabotage by the rich and the USA and the violent “protests”, arson, street violence, assassination, carried out by the right wing.

Unfortunately, the Government of Venezuela has allowed the rich to maintain far too much power and this has made it impossible to further the gains experienced by the mass of Venezuelans and they are suffering.

Sadly, the accommodation of the rich has included corruption by some sections of the bureaucracy but a victory of the right wing opposition would be disastrous for ordinary Venezuelans.

In any case T More’s suggestion that the rich no longer exist in Venezuela show his views rest on delusion and can’t be taken seriously.

As Bloomberg Business Week reported: “In mornings and afternoons, protesters pack Chacao’s plazas and streets, erecting barricades and throwing stones. … But after dark, an elite emerges to fill Chacao’s bars, strip clubs and shopping malls. “

On another issue Roger Lack can be confident that the racism of his letters (Tuesday August 15) will be called out whenever he makes the daft claim that crime is all about immigration.

“Some races are above the law” he whines. All serious studies show higher incarceration rates for black or Asian people in comparison with white people convicted for similar crimes.

PETER SMITH, Woodside Avenue, Swindon

Tale is not the truth

IN DIRECT response to the recent Barcelona vehicle attack which killed so many innocent people, President Trump tweeted “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more radical Islamic terror for 35 years!”

He is referring to a hoax story that Pershing lined up 50 captured Muslims, he then supposedly dipped 50 bullets in pigs blood and proceeded to have them all shot, apart from the 50th man whom he told: “Now go back home and tell them what we did.”

Trump then says it stopped Islamic terror attacks for 35 years. The whole story is fabrication, there is no proof of this ever happening.

For someone who complains any negative reporting about him is fake news, you’d think he’d be the first one to ensure he spoke the truth. The man is a pathological liar of the highest order.

Surely the Republican party in America cannot continue to support a man who lies on a daily basis?

Who are these ‘very fine people’ he spoke about who were marching alongside torch-lit Nazi fanatics and white supremacists in Charlottesville last week?

To be seen in such company would surely be an embarrassment to any fine upstanding citizen of the United States.

TOM HORWAT, Upavon Court, Penhill, Swindon

Get tough on prisoners

I SERVED nearly ten years as a Prison Visitor at HM Prison Dartmoor, and my experience taught me that we are far too soft on criminals in the majority of cases. We all have to recognise that there are consequences for bad behaviour.

Believe me, life in prison is so soft these days, that in many cases some offenders enjoy a better standard of living inside, than they ever enjoyed outside - three good meals a day; a warm bed, no bills to pay and time when they can play snooker or table tennis or watch television.

I would like to see the re-introduction of hard labour, the birch and, when and where guilt is established beyond any doubt, capital punishment. With DNA testing this should be possible in most cases. Clearly where this is not possible, the prisoner has to be given the benefit of that doubt.

Children and young people must learn that there are consequences for bad behaviour. The introduction of these measures should, where practical, be backed up with training and education programmes.

And, while we are on the subject of crime, we all need to give the police our fullest support. They are the thin blue line between law and order and total anarchy.

JOHN JONES, Address supplied

EU has led to terror

IN REPLY to Steve Rouse (Aug 18) we saw in Barcelona just how weak countries are at protecting their own citizens.

The idea that a supra-national EU government has created peace in Europe is actually very far from the truth.

The aim of the EU is to weaken the individual nation states and replace them with an unelected federal government.

Far from creating peace, a Europe without borders has become a very dangerous place to live.

The EU might originally have had altruistic intentions but they have accidentally created a haven where ISIS terrorism can flourish.

The removal of national borders, especially within the Schengen area, has resulted in the current situation where no one can feel safe anywhere in Europe.

STEVE HALDEN, Beaufort Green, Swindon