THE bus gate on Penzance Drive is in the news again.

You know the one I mean - it raised at least £600,000 for the council in 2017 alone, with 20,673 penalties issued.

In the latest incident, drivers diverted after a truck became stuck under a bridge in Wootton Bassett Road were penalised.

Some terrible, cynical people suggest the huge number of fines indicates that the signage and road markings, though entirely in accordance with the rules, are inadequate, and that thousands of people driving where they shouldn’t hampers the bus gate’s environmental role in making public transport more efficient and appealing.

Some even more terrible and cynical people suggest certain folk at the council are therefore less fond of the environment than they are of all that lovely, lovely cash milked from motorists caught out.

Anybody making such a suggestion is guilty of a foul slander.

It should be obvious to everybody that what’s happening here is an enigma whose cause has yet to be determined.

For some reason, thousands upon thousands of drivers who normally obey road signs and road marking at bus gates are overcome by strange and reckless urges in Penzance Drive - and only in Penzance Drive or else there’d be chaos.

I really can’t think why that is happening. As I’ve already said, the council would never tolerate such a situation if it had the power to make a change.

Perhaps there’s something weird going on with ley lines. Yes, that’ll be it.


DEVELOPER Rolton Kilbride is appealing against Swindon Borough Council’s decision to reject a garbage incinerator planned for South Marston.

As an added bonus for the legions of local people who have expressed unanimous opposition and loathing, the firm is also looking at bringing in some extra garbage from London for processing if the plant goes ahead.

Once again, the company is the target of angry criticism.

If only it had followed the advice I often give to companies, Whitehall departments and politicians about the best way to win public approval. There’s no secret to it. All they need do is appeal to our sense of fair play and prove it’s not a case of one rule for us and another for them.

Rolton Kilbride says its incinerator will be perfectly safe, presenting no threat to the local environment or quality of life.

That’s all very well, but actions speak louder than words.

Imagine how many thousands of hearts and minds the company could win if it amended its plans only slightly to include a little family cottage, complete with a pretty garden and roses around the door, right next to the incinerator, and pledged that its senior executives - and their spouses and children - would take turns to live there for a year or two throughout the working life of the facility.

Obviously, some executives would be reluctant to move their families here temporarily, especially if the children had exams coming up, but that wouldn’t be a problem either.

The senior folk in question could simply agree to have miniature versions of the incinerator built in the gardens of their houses, with lorries bringing in sufficient skiploads of garbage to keep the processes ticking over nicely day and night, winter and summer.

Clearly, neither of these scenarios would be a problem for the company’s senior people - and would demonstrate just how safe and generally lovely the plan for South Marston is.

“Hmm,” the people will say, “everything in the little garden of the cottage near the massive incinerator is still beautiful. The lawn is lush and green, and in no way scorched, dying, covered with drifts of toxic particles or stained sickly shades of colours with no decent claim to a space in the known spectrum.

“Oh, and the roses around the door haven’t mutated into some sentient monstrosity prone to seizing members of the household, holding them fast and draining their vital substances until the foliage takes on a sinister red hue.

“Even better, there are no reports of any of the executives or their nearest and dearest shedding their skin, developing third eyes on fleshy stalks protruding from the tops of their heads or giving birth to creatures which have to be kept securely locked in the attic, fed on putrifying dead badgers found at the side of the road and monitored carefully to ensure they don’t multiply through some amoeba-like process of division.

“Clearly my opposition to the scheme was ill-founded and I should write to the company and apologise...”

I reckon my idea is so logically and morally sound that countless other top business executives and senior public figures will fall over themselves to try something similar.

Railway executives, for example, will be anxious to sign legally-binding employment contracts which forbid them from using private cars to travel between placed connected by a line.

Politicians who say the NHS is safe in their hands will be delighted to sign something similar to the effect that neither they or their loved ones will use any form of private medicine, and any senior person who insists we’re safe from crime will be happy to move to statistically crime-ridden places.