SO the developers behind Swindon’s bid for an all-singing, all-dancing new museum have revealed exciting news this week.

Well, that might be putting it a bit strong.

They’ve announced that they’ve done some pretty new drawings of what the weird, fanned building might look like. This is bound to win them support, because who isn’t a sucker for a nicely coloured-in artist’s impression?

They’ve also decided to move the building a few feet across the old car park (soon to be known as a piazza) so that it’s more visible to passing pedestrians and motorists. Let’s hope it doesn’t cause any accidents.

If this is supposed to get us in a fever of anticipation and take to the streets insisting that Swindon Council spanks the £5m it’s already promised plus another £245,000 which it’s being asked for, I’m sorry but it’s not doing it for me.

There was, however, some genuinely interesting news about the museum project earlier this week.

The team have been asked to look again at whether they can actually afford to offer free entry.

The bean counters have worked out that in the first seven years of opening, the museum could face a budget shortfall of between £32,000 and £120,000.

In the year before opening it’s predicted the shortfall could be as high as £130,000.

None of this is good news (no matter how attractively the artist’s impression depicts the accountants).

Most major, successful museums in towns and cities across the UK — and around the world — offer free entry, and charge only for special exhibitions should you wish to visit them.

Surely this would be a better way forward? Because I can’t help thinking that if you charge people simply to put their toe over the threshold, they simply won’t bother going at all.

And the last thing this town needs is a very big, very expensive white elephant.

Despite all this moaning, I do think Swindon should have a museum big enough to reflect its history and culture.

After all, we’re in possession of one of the finest collections of modern art in the country. It’d be nice if we — and visitors from elsewhere — could actually get to see it.

But I don’t think we deserve a behemoth of a new building until we’ve done something to restore our beautiful old relics, such as the Mechanics’ Institute and the Locarno.

After all, if the new museum gets the go ahead and is a roaring success and people come from far and wide to visit the town, attracted by the treasures on show, what on earth will they think when they see we’ve left the rest of the place either half built or falling down around our ears?

We’ll just end up with the reputation of being all fur coat and no knickers. And I’m sick of Swindon being a joke in other people’s eyes.

A knit-wit of an idea?

AN organisation called Knit for Peace has issued a report stating that knitting can save the NHS funds.

Seems a bit of a woolly idea to me, but I suppose it’s only as ridiculous as suggesting the Government is capable of untangling the knotty problem that is our struggling health service.

According to Knit for Peace, click-clacking their way through a ball of four-ply helps older people become more resilient, and improves their mental and physical health, overcoming isolation and loneliness and increasing a sense of well-being.

All of which presumably leads to them becoming less ill less often and easing the pressure on the NHS.

Perhaps our government ministers could start going along to their local Stitch ‘n’ Bitch sessions. They might pick up some useful ideas on how to rescue our ailing NHS.

Keep these killers under wraps, please

I CAN’T decide if I’m being a fuddy-duddy or if I’m right in being outraged.

The cause of my dilemma is this: the other day I walked past a shop in Swindon which is displaying guns in its window.

Now I’m sure they’re intended for hunting, although I didn’t know a hand gun was used for such purposes. Maybe I’ve watched too many US murder mysteries, but it looks suspiciously like a weapon of ill intent to me.

But whatever their use, in this day and age — and especially given the recent atrocity at the Route 91 musical festival in America — I find it offensive and potentially dangerous even to put temptation in people’s way.

Guns should be locked up and kept out of sight.

We can’t show cigarettes on display inside shops any more, let alone in their windows, because they are known to kill people.

Why on earth don’t the same rules apply to guns?