I AM deeply disappointed that Councillor Dempsey continues to run down the council’s attempts to work with the private and public sector to regenerate the town centre. He appears to have little knowledge about the real length of time such a programme takes.
Although he is given the facts repeatedly he chooses to ignore them, and he displays an alarming lack of understanding of his subject. Perhaps before attacking us he should listen properly so he can speak from an informed position?
Let me quote from a press release issued by Destination Bristol on November 5, 2008: “After over 15 years, having been widely recognised as the catalyst for the regeneration of Broadmead and laying the foundations that ensured over £500 million investment in Cabot Circus, Broadmead Board has announced its intention to merge with its sister organisation Destination Bristol which was established in 1999 to develop the city’s visitor economy and its potential as a tourist destination.” There we have it in black and white, the redevelopment took over 15 years, about the same timescale we are proposing for Union Square, for which work has now started at Whalebridge roundabout.
Not only is Councillor Dempsey ignorant of how redevelopment worked in Bristol, he has failed to acquire any understanding of what decisions have been made in Swindon. In November 2007 the full council, of which he was not a member at the time, approved the Central Area Action Plan. This plan is the foundation of town centre redevelopment. It is available in both printed and internet forms. How many times has Councillor Dempsey mentioned it in his speeches? Not once.
I am happy to have a debate with anyone about the shape of the future of Swindon. However, to go back to square one, as Councillor Dempsey demands, would mean wasting the last five years’ work and delaying redevelopment until 2026 and beyond.
COUN GARRY PERKINS Deputy leader of Swindon Borough Council