Swindon AdvertiserDAVID RENARD: We like to be able to say yes, let’s get best deal for the town (From Swindon Advertiser)

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DAVID RENARD: We like to be able to say yes, let’s get best deal for the town

Swindon Advertiser: David Renard - Swindon Borough Council Leader David Renard - Swindon Borough Council Leader

RECENTLY, an audience of local business people asked me what makes the present council administration distinctive? This ended with general agreement that the Central Area Action Plan, which the council adopted in 2009, and the Town Centre Masterplan that flows from it, provide a coherent vision for Swindon for which there is support across the political spectrum.

I find this consensus reassuring. It sends a clear message to existing businesses and developers about the future. Anyone who wants to make a long-term commitment to Swindon can draw comfort from the fact that there will be no radical changes; this town is open for business.

Nevertheless, any development involves a degree of negotiation and compromise. Here is one area where I believe the current administration does well. We know how and when to say yes. That means we have a positive attitude towards investment and the new jobs and wealth development it will bring. It was this positive attitude that helped Swindon secure the Bodleian Library’s archive storage facility at South Marston, when Oxford City Council failed to say that simple word: yes. It has helped Swindon become a leading place in advocating solar sound barriers, with Coun Dale Heenan taking the lead. It also means we don’t waste time fighting battles we can’t win. Swindon’s geography, its good and improving road and rail links, and its existing industries, makes this an attractive town for economic growth and new housing. We have a clear policy of saying yes to managed growth, and using the negotiations to get the best deal for residents.

Others may recommend a different approach. Some would like to see more consultation on every decision. However, the downside of this is that the only answer the town would give investors is “please wait.” How many of us have been stuck on hold with a company’s telephone answering service, only to take our business elsewhere out of frustration? If the council and its members are never ready to say yes, new jobs may go elsewhere.

A second risk is that the council gets a reputation for saying no. As we saw with the Northern Sector, just being negative meant that the council lost control of the development, and we ended up with something that does not suit residents’ needs as well it could have done.

For example, there are issues with school provision, parking and maintenance of commons areas.

My administration’s policy remains clear: I say yes to investment, yes let’s negotiate, and yes let’s get the best for Swindon.

Comments (2)

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8:09am Fri 4 Apr 14

OldTown90 says...

"For example, there are issues with school provision, parking and maintenance of commons areas."

Issues with schools in North Swindon is all down to the incompetence within SBC. This incompetence has delivered an acuteshortage of school places in North Swindon whilst South Swindon has had two new schools that sit more than half empty.

Its about saying yes to the right things not the wrong that will make Swindon better.

The leader and his cohorts dont seeem to have grasped that concept when it comes to schools.

Must try harder is a comment that should go in their report card
"For example, there are issues with school provision, parking and maintenance of commons areas." Issues with schools in North Swindon is all down to the incompetence within SBC. This incompetence has delivered an acuteshortage of school places in North Swindon whilst South Swindon has had two new schools that sit more than half empty. Its about saying yes to the right things not the wrong that will make Swindon better. The leader and his cohorts dont seeem to have grasped that concept when it comes to schools. Must try harder is a comment that should go in their report card OldTown90
  • Score: 1

10:07am Fri 4 Apr 14

Al Smith says...

Please remind me again what council it was that said NO to lakeland opening at mannington because they'd rather it opened in the town centre? Leaving Swindon without one, whilst towns less than half the size do have one.

Saying yes is all well and good but it can be worse than say no! Especially when you say yes to a town centre redevelopment that makes it harder to get into by car. Get it into your skulls that Swindon isn't Bath or Oxford (who can rely on hundreds of thousands of tourists a year, if not millions). You can't make the town centre car unfriendly whilst also saying no to bus service subsidies and closing down park and rides. Because people will stop coming to the town centre as they can just go elsewhere (good road links are a double-edged sword).
Please remind me again what council it was that said NO to lakeland opening at mannington because they'd rather it opened in the town centre? Leaving Swindon without one, whilst towns less than half the size do have one. Saying yes is all well and good but it can be worse than say no! Especially when you say yes to a town centre redevelopment that makes it harder to get into by car. Get it into your skulls that Swindon isn't Bath or Oxford (who can rely on hundreds of thousands of tourists a year, if not millions). You can't make the town centre car unfriendly whilst also saying no to bus service subsidies and closing down park and rides. Because people will stop coming to the town centre as they can just go elsewhere (good road links are a double-edged sword). Al Smith
  • Score: 1

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