PEOPLE of all ages have been given the opportunity to shape the future of Swindon.

Swindon Council wants as many people as possible to share ideas about how to improve their town over the next two decades.

The council has appealed to people to read its draft core strategy, which sets out how it will address major issues until 2026.

All public comments will influence the final version of the strategy, which will become a blueprint for how best to put Swindon on the worldwide map.

Angela Clack, local development framework manager at Swindon Council, said: “It wouldn’t be a document for Swindon without that input from the people of Swindon.”

Issues up for consideration include demands from central Government for 35,000 new homes in Swindon, the creation of a canal network, and the building of new schools.

The council also wants to hear peoples’ thoughts on how to best attract a leading university to Swindon and how to tempt shoppers back into the town centre.

A range of public exhibitions are being provided to allow different neighbourhoods to make their voices heard.

Ms Clack said. “We have worked hard to involve the community in this and we would like to see as many people as possible at the exhibitions over the next month.

“There will be planning officers at each exhibition to answer any questions and we will have a summary leaflet setting out the key points of the strategy.

“It covers a whole range of issues from infrastructure that’s necessary for development over the next 20 years to a vision for culture in Swindon.

“It is important that people in Swindon are involved in planning the future of their town.”

The council’s draft core strategy document reads: “In 2026 Swindon will be a regional centre that has raised its image through developing its own identity built on sustainable growth and respect for its railway heritage.

“It will have a regenerated town centre that includes a cutting edge new university, the reinstatement of the canal through central Swindon and linked to the countryside by a strategic network of multifunctional open spaces and waterways.

“An integrated and sustainable transport system will enable easy movement around the borough.

“Communities will be sustainable, cohesive and healthy, and residents will enjoy a quality of life that does not use more resources than the environment can provide.”

Once the core strategy is adopted all planning applications will have to abide by it.

Copies of the strategy will be available at a series of exhibitions but they can also be picked up at any library or found online at www.swindon.gov.uk.

Residents have until 4.30pm on Monday, September 21 to give their opinions.

For further information email forwardplanning@swindon.gov.uk.

Public Exhibitions
Thursday: 12pm to 6pm, North Swindon Library
Friday: 12pm to 6pm, North Swindon Library
Wednesday, September 2: 2.30pm to 6pm, Covingham Library
Friday, September 4: 2.30pm to 6pm, Covingham Library
Tuesday, September 8: 2pm to 6pm, Highworth Library
Thursday, September 10: 9am to 5pm, Brunel Shopping Centre
Friday, September 11: 9am to 5pm, Brunel Shopping Centre