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Nothing to boast about

So ONCE again the Conservative-run council has disastrously failed the people of Swindon. More broken promises, more mis-spent millions of tax-payers’ money and more economic incompetence. (“Another blow for town centre plan,” Swindon Advertiser, September 8.)

Coun Perkins accuses the Labour Party of “running a left wing ideological campaign to talk down his party’s achievements.”

Which achievements are those? The attack on our libraries? The repeated blocking of efforts to restore and honour our heritage buildings? The collapse our town centre economy? The selling off of public streets to the private sector? Presiding over the greatest increase in homelessness in Swindon ever recorded? I could go on...

In fact I will. To deliver these “achievements” they have paid their chief executive officer more than their Prime Minister, imposed the largest increase in combined council taxes in the country and introduced an unnecessary and expensive layer of local government bureaucracy with unwanted parish councils. Is this the best Conservative ideology can do?

Mr Perkins and his colleagues have no record on which to stand and no honourable course of action but to resign. And if they don’t, I have no doubt the people of Swindon will exercise their democratic right to give others a chance next May.


We are not a-Muse-d

Only four short weeks ago you published a letter from me in which I suggested “The question on every observer’s lips is this – how long will it be before we are told Muse has pulled out of the project and the council is seeking another partner.”

In the Adver of Sept 8 we have the answer. They are history - after nine years of waiting for Muse Developments to lay a brick on the site which their own director of development opined “will create investment confidence in Swindon town centre and it will attract residential occupiers back into the town centre” the council has had enough.

Just how many false dawns should the people of Swindon face from an administration which cannot be trusted to run a bottle bank?

And yet a glance at the Muse website suggests they are not a ‘johnny come lately’ organisation – they have a seeming successful track record of high end achievement with a partnership list covering many of the country’s top companies; working with local authorities and being garlanded with numerous awards.

Which leads one to ask “what is wrong with Swindon?” and the only constant in the programme of false starts and failure is the current administration.

Obsessed with legacy, self-indulgent in their own ideological bubble and dismissive of any contrary opinion, the current administration is neither innovative nor progressive.

Coun Garry Perkins offers an inelegant response on the matter by seeking to denigrate anyone who dares to criticise the lack of progress on the town centre regeneration programme.

It was Coun Perkins who lauded the building of a £15m car park as an investment which would return a profit to council coffers, the man who supported a former council leader who said ‘we will build and they will come.’

The truth is very different, and even now the only buildings we are likely to see is the construction of a new bus station which will be funded by even more borrowing.

The question now is who will take over this poisoned chalice. Do we now face the prospect of Forward Swindon taking over the reins as the ‘developer partner’?

Given they are on record as having described Kimmerfields as “a high priority project as it will create investor confidence without major investment” I look forward to hearing how they can achieve what Muse could not do.

DES MORGAN, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Sensible U-turn please

So, THE council has pulled the plug on the multi-million pound town centre development deal which has the so-called Kimmerfields at its heart.

Could we please now have Whalebridge roundabout back, better access to both the rail and bus stations and a sensible through-road layout that actually encourages drivers into and out of the centre of Swindon?

M ARCHER, York Road, Swindon

They deserve support

Your front page story on September 8 gave many interesting statistics about the growing number of homeless people in Swindon.

The most urgent problem is to deal with the 415 homeless young people in the town. There are many categories of homeless people including families and in every case the figures for homelessness have more than doubled in the last five years.

What is exacerbating the housing crisis is that councils across Britain are still selling council house stock.

I think it is fair to say that in hindsight the Right To Buy Act 1980 has been the main cause of the housing crisis and now the young cannot afford to rent or buy.

The young generation are the flower of the nation. It is the duty of our country to help the young people of today to make a good start in life. The most important way we can help the young generation is to help them find a decent place to live.

TERRY HAYWARD, Burnham Road, Swindon

Race day was no fun

Reference the article by Gill Harris. She should have researched a little further about why some people voiced objections about the way the half marathon was organised.

Her article was very judgmental and poorly thought out. Some people may have genuine reasons why they voiced their complaints.

Perhaps Gill could imagine being a 90-plus-year-old lady living alone, who is registered blind, and proud of still managing very well, to live in her home, with the help of four care visits each day.

Now imagine being the carer trying to reach this person, stuck in traffic which was not moving anywhere, and knowing essential medication was due and a lunch to be provided.

The organisers said prior notices had been posted around the town, however this did not really help.

I doubt anyone anticipated practically the whole town becoming gridlocked. Is the whole population of Swindon meant to be happy to be immobilised because of this event?

I also know of someone stuck for 45 minutes when they were only three minutes from home!

We all know that the charity money raised is fabulous, as is keeping fit by running, and the associated benefits to the town. But “dear” Gill (as you patronisingly addressed motorists), some people have other things to do which are equally important and creditable.

By the way, thanks to mobile phones and kind neighbours, the 90-year-old did get medication and food!

JD HILL, Swindon

Scots love a laugh

Contrary to popular belief the Scots have a great sense of humour. When I first encountered my Good Lady in the Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow 56 years ago, I asked her ‘Are you dancing?’ She replied ‘No, it is just the way I am standing.’ The rest is history.

Taggart the Scottish detective series, I never miss. He is informed that there is a murder in Maryhill, Glasgow. He replies with a straight face ‘There is a murder every fortnight in Maryhill.’ referring to PartickThistle football team’s home record. Guess where... in Maryhill.

Another example being the late, great Chic Murray. He said: “I arrived at the airport with my wife. As we got to passport control, I said to her we have forgotten the kitchen table. She replied we are going to Spain, what has the kitchen table got to do with that? He replied I have left the passports on it.”

Finally, a family friend visited us at the weekends in Glasgow for a sing-song, with alcoholic support. My father named him The Exorcist - he made the spirits disappear.

BILL WILLIAMS, Merlin Way, Covingham, Swindon