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Magical masterpiece

I like Cllr Gary Perkins. He’s engaging, well-meaning and hard-working. Sadly when in his “rent-a-quote” persona he very rarely brings illumination to the matter in hand… until today that is (EA Dec 14th).

When asked about the efficacy of the work on Greenbridge traffic roundabout he said “people go on about the magic roundabout but I think it’s a dream, we should have put one here!”

For once he is spot on. Apart from Greenbridge there are several sites in Swindon where this solution could and should have been implemented - the junction of Thamesdown Drive and Cricklade Road, Mannington, which is a nightmare junction presently, as will soon be the Wroughton/Swindon/Witchelstowe road junction.

Why is it so amazing? The most important element is that it works both ways. Because traffic can choose the shortest path between its entry and exit points, it spends less time on the junction. But also every approach has space for several vehicles to wait alongside one another: that way, when there is a gap several vehicles can move off at the same time. And safety? Remarkable as it’s complex with vehicles coming from both directions, you have to drive slowly, take proper care and concentrate.

This colossus of traffic management has gently passaged 7,200 vehicles an hour since 1971, a multi-ring masterpiece, sometimes imitated, yet never bettered.

Where are today’s experienced, visionary traffic engineers such as Frank Blackmore and Ray Harper, who designed and built Swindon’s internationally renown tourist hotspot? They would be rightly astonished at the dog’s breakfast our highway boys seem to end up with.

John Stooke, Haydon End, Swindon

A bunch of Scrooges

Justin Tomlinson would have your readers believe that we should be grateful to the government for increasing the amount of money it is allocating to Wiltshire police. Adver readers aren’t quite as gullible as Justin might suppose them to be, and every one of them knows that the money is actually from two sources.

The first is general taxation, and the second is via the precept levied by the Police and Crime Commissioner who will be able to increase the precept amount by 100% or double what it is today. Swindon Council will get an above average increase in its central funding, but will also be empowered to levy even larger sums in Council Tax.

As for Justin’s boast that the GWH is going to receive a £30million grant to build an extension to the A&E department, this comes with a catch as it will require the Trust to find £15million as their contribution; it’s also the case that the GWH management require two years to develop a business plan around the development.

So these ‘gifts’ are not quite the super Christmas present Justin would have us all believe; it’s a bit like being asked to pay for your own present. The government is a modern day Scrooge, not a bountiful Santa Claus.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

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