As this week’s Cabinet meets to discuss the ongoing wi-fi saga, surely the time is now right to ask Coun Perkins what happened to the £250,000 of taxpayers money.

I refer of course to the money given to Digital City, the company of which he is a director, and was in that post when the funding was made available.

Let there be no doubt as to what that funding was for; it was to progress the building of a wi-fi network across the whole of the borough.

In fact it was considered essential to pay this money to Digital City otherwise the project was likely to fail; as we now know, the project and Digital City failed to achieve any of its primary objectives.

Coun Perkins’ role as a director was to ensure the success of the company and the ‘protection’ of the council’s interest.

I think it fair to say he has singularly failed to achieve either.

It is also the case that Coun Perkins promised the £400,000 loan would be repaid, with interest; indeed, he proudly boasted ‘a new investor is only weeks away from signing a deal’ – sadly that assurance was so much flim flam.

Councillors are now being asked to underwrite the cost for the preparation and filing of a private company’s annual accounts, ostensibly as a quid pro quo with aQovia who have been running the Highworth network for Digital City.

Your readers may well ask why anyone would offer to pay any bills for a company which owes them over £400,000, especially when the liability for the presentation of the accounts rests with the directors of the company.

One really does wonder how any councillor can be taken in by any further assurances given by an officer corps who so badly failed to correctly assess the commercial situation of the company and who blithely gave away £250,000, despite having severe doubts as to the ability of the company to perform its side of the deal.

Des Morgan Caraway Drive Swindon

Kevin’s big gaffe

I would like to thank reporter Katie Bond for raising local residents’ concerns that green open space and allotment land were never intended for housing development and should be protected from such.

But who is Colin Bloodworth of HAB Okus?

I have never heard of him, nor has he ever spoken, emailed or written to me, so how could he have possibly reassured me that local residents will be consulted?

In fact, as far as consultation goes, I am still waiting for Channel 4’s Grand Designs presenter, Kevin McCloud, and his team to get back to me to explain why Mr McCloud incorrectly referred to allotment land as a ‘brownfield site’ in his two-part programme on The Triangle in January.

Channel 4 acknowledged receiving my email on 9th January and passing it on to his team.

Under European legislation, allotment gardens are green, because they are deemed to enhance green open spaces. Channel 4 has acknowledged the seriousness of the issue of Kevin’s big gaffe.

This is not the first legal issue we have had to raise on this land where HAB Homes is involved.

Therefore, Swindon residents have every reason to question any proposed housing development and make best use of the Freedom of Information Act, together with the right to examine any deeds relating to Kembrey Grass and Pickards Small Field (or even the Great Western Sports Ground in Shrivenham Road).

Through checking deeds for any legal constraints on land, we were successful in 2010 in blocking the initial proposal to build on protected public open space between Gorse Hill and Pinehurst.

If there is any reassurance to be done, it will be local residents reassuring Mr Bloodworth that HAB Homes have a fight on their hands.

Josie Lewis Gorse Hill Swindon

A right royal sum

Whether or not you agree or disagree with our constitutional system, the true cost of the monarchy is astounding.

The estimated guess puts it at somewhere in the region of £200m which, when compared to the scandalous bankers’ bonuses, is probably good value for money, seeing they only ‘work’ three days a week for five months a year, and that Philip’s pocket money (which is known) is £395,000 a year, which is a damn sight more than the PM gets.

So, keep up the good work, Des . You never know someone might put your name forward for one of the many ‘gongs’ they dish out.

Ian Hunt Hill View Road Swindon

Put culture first

On the same page of the Swindon Advertiser February 11 edition, appeared your editorial regretting the planned closure of West Sports and a letter saddened at the loss of Sight 2 Sound.

Simon Needler, of West Sports, cites the growth of internet shopping as one cause of reduced trade, while long-term vacant retail units in Swindon also point to changes in buying habits that mean fewer retail shops are required and that this trend towards online buying will continue beyond this recession.

Surely, faced with all the evidence, we do not need to build more shops to concentrate on upgrading the premises, merchandising and staff in a varied core of sustainable retail outlets. Every new start-up will bleed trade away from currently struggling businesses and hasten adding their premises to the pool of shuttered eyesores.

Swindon lacks cultural variety and has let heritage buildings become wrecks.

Thinking leadership should take control of the Mechanics’ Institute and should build a concert hall that can accommodate numerous youngsters comfortably and safely and provide suitable facilities for classical performances. The Oasis and the Wyvern can thrive without trying to fulfil these roles.

D Langley Keyneston Road Swindon

Counterfeit warning

Your readers should be aware that cash machines can contain counterfeit notes. I recently got money from the ATM at the Co-op machine in Gorse Hill and one of the £20 notes was noticed to be a forgery by a cashier in the next place I shopped. This note was impounded by the manager – he has to do this by law. I contacted the Co-op Bank; they were not very helpful. My chance of getting the money reimbursed is very slim. However, I am taking the matter further because if you can’t trust the banks who can you you trust? Surely it is the banks’ responsibility to check the money they dispense to the public?

Helen Murphy Ferndale Road Swindon

We need Scotland

Mr Thompson, I apologise for saying the English won two wars. I was married to a Scots lady and have relatives in Scotland.

They will know that I speak rather narrowly when I talk of my English background.

In fact, let me say now, I think Scottish troops are the very best in the British Army and no one speaks up more than myself for the United Kingdom.

It was my reply to a man who will hope for all the huge foreign votes in London to get him elected next time, and running the English down in general.

Of course, I am 93 years gone, so I don’t always think enough in my tirades nowadays.

I hope to soon write in a Scottish paper telling them how much I hope they vote to stay in the finest United Kingdom in the world. We need them badly.

G Ing Newcastle Street Swindon

Not the PM’s idea

The European Union has issued a directive requiring all companies to have a quota for the number of women on their board of directors.

David Cameron is raising this issue for discussion and giving the British public the impression that this was in fact his own idea.

But the quota for women directors originates from an EU Directive, and was definitely not David Cameron’s idea at all.

Steve Halden Beaufort Green Swindon