A FORMER Mayor of Swindon has been drafted onto the group making decisions about how to spend a possible £25m windfall from the government.

The council’s Town Deal Board will now feature Labour councillor Junab Ali.

There had been clashes between Conservative council leader David Renard and Labour counterpart Jim Grant at meetings when the latter tried to make the case that the board should include members from Central wards. Almost all of them are Labour members.

The board has been set up to manage the bid for a grant from the government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund, with the seven projects to benefit in the central areas of Swindon.

It has been agreed Coun Ali, who represents Central ward, will become a member.

He said: “I thank the board for inviting the Labour group to sit on the board.

"We have been calling for some time for the board to have cross-party representation so there can be a degree of political consensus on the long-term projects affecting the town.

"The board clearly agree with this common sense approach and I look forward to working with all the members of the board to achieve the best possible outcomes for Swindon.”

Areas earmarked for improvement include the tented market near the Brunel Centre, the David Murray John Tower, the Health Hydro and the Kimmerfields regeneration zone.

Bids to the fund will be made today and a decision is expected by October.