Change due at SBC

In my entire life I have never written so many letters to the press as I have this year with regard to SBC, yet I feel compelled to do so once more.

In the October 8 edition of the Swindon Advertiser we have an article highlighting the rise in debt charges by £1 million, yet the council proposes the expenditure of £140,000 on two skate parks, which are opposed by local residents and when five sites already exist within Swindon.

This, despite cuts to children’s centres, bus services, reductions of grounds maintenance and street cleaning, not to mention staff reductions which cause great problems to the families affected.

Additionally, as presented at the last West Swindon Forum, costs have created a need to sell off all the leisure centres and facilities hitherto run by SBC. Every alternative suggestion that constituents make seems to be met with complete inflexibility and a lack of willingness, or is it ability, to change the direction of their planning. This appears to display a level of financial planning and control which can only be described as totally inept, unfortunately with our ratepayers’ money!

On October 7, I attended a meeting of the Standards Committee in which the lack of support for complainants was highlighted. On October 8, we had the Swindon Mayor highlighted yet again, this time on the front page, as the result of yet another complaint being investigated by the council, at presumably the cost of another significant bill from an independent consultant.

Once more I ask; does not Swindon, generally a town of hard working young families, deserve better than this for their future? Is it not time for some councillors to retire, with thanks for their past service, to make way for new blood with views more in line with the long term needs of Swindon’s developing population?

Arthur Beltrami Spencer Close Swindon

Thanks for the support

A big thank you for the amazing coverage in the Advertiser of my cycle ride for the Make a Wish Foundation, from Land’s End to John O’Groats. It undoubtedly boosted donations for the charity. I am now being recognised in the street and in shops!

Many thanks also to the many people who have donated so generously, including gift aid just over £3,700, which far surpassed my expectations.

A massive thank you to Ken Smith, who drove a support car, gave loads of encouragement and helped throughout, was always cheerful and makes very good coffee.

I am pleased to report there were no punctures or mechanical issues and no problems whatsoever from other road users.

Courtesy, perhaps now a bit old fashioned, but I believe it pays dividends.

It’s back to reality this Saturday, marshalling at a cycle cross race at Newbury Show Ground, promoted by the Cotswolds Veldrijden Cycling Club. Hope it stays dry.

The bike used for 80 per cent of the ride will be going on display at the Salvation Army Recycles Shop in Spring Close/Princes Street, Swindon.

Denis Hedges Dewell Mews Swindon

Duo UKIP-bound?

So Stephen Yaxley-Lennon aka Tommy Robinson, leader of the EDL and his co-founder of the right wing party Kevin Carroll, are to leave the party because they say it has become too extreme.

Mr Robinson goes on to say that he acknowledges the dangers of far-right extremism and wants to counter Islamist ideology through democracy.

With Godfrey Bloom leaving UKIP, can we expect the leader of UKIP Nigel Farage, his chums and UKIP supporters to welcome them both into his party with open arms?

Mark Webb Old Town Swindon

Diving into past

In April 1949 I had orders to join the Royal Navy for my National Service in May the same year.

Before I left, I said to myself, ‘I must dive off the top diving board at Coate Water’.

Sure enough, it was very cold but I swam out to it, dived into the lake and quickly swam back. Job done!

Many more dives followed whilst on leave and sculling on the single scull boats were done many times – the total length of the lake.

In the early 1950s the lake dried up a little and, instead of diving in, I jumped in off the board. Luckily I did, because my feet entered two feet of sludge, but no problems, thank goodness.

For many years in the late 1950s I sculled these boats and then they changed to rowing boats which I used many times.

Swallow dives and others followed, then the lake suffered problems and swimming was not allowed.

Being 83 years old, I often wonder whether I could or should repeat a dive again. I doubt it.

Melville Jones Alveston Close Westlea Swindon

Dead without PC

Last week, I went into Jobcentre Plus in Swindon and all the job search machines were out of order. I asked the security man and he said they were all being taken out and if I wanted to see what jobs were available, I would have to use the internet.

This got me thinking that these days everyone is expected to have a computer and it seems to me that if you haven’t got a computer for the internet, you may as well be dead.

G Belcher Highworth Road Swindon

All parties agree

In reply to Steve Thompson (Adver, October 9), it is the policy of all the mainstream parties to cut government spending. Only when we run a surplus can we start paying back our huge national debt.

500,000 is the gross annual immigration figure and the leaders of all the mainstream parties have said that they would like to see that figure reduced.

Steve Halden Beaufort Green Swindon

Grateful for help

4Joy fundraising would like to thank everyone who attended our FunQuizNight4Joy at The Village Inn, Liddington on Monday 7th October and for making it an enjoyable evening. We raised £600 and this takes the 4Joy £20,000 appeal to a staggering £9,967.

We would like to thank Vince and Donna Jones for hosting the event and for serving such great food, as usual. Our thanks also go to the staff and especially to Kaye Fraher for organising the quiz, ably assisted by Jenny Fraher and Joan McCann.

Alan Fletcher Chair Swindon Guide Dogs for the Blind

Bill of wrongs

What is the point in penning a reply in full to a person like Bill Collins who can’t acknowledge that in his letter, ‘Frank vendetta’ of 29 September, he made a false accusation against me and in his follow up letter, ‘Look after our own’ of October 7, he openly showed his ignorance and narrow mindedness on several issues.

Martin Webb Swindon Road Swindon