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We are paying for this

In HIS letter, “Things have changed” (SA October 21) Wroughton Parish Council chairman Steve Harcourt, says he is happy to confirm that the cost of the extension to the Ellendune Community Centre, which was constructed in 2013 was £146,321. Much of this came from Section 106 Funds - contributions from developers for community benefit - with the remainder paid by the parish council.

He doesn’t say how much came from Section 106 Funds or how much came from the tax payers’ of Wroughton. Section 106 Funds are generated by specific development projects and often have a specific clause attached to them, to say how they should be used, but he doesn’t give this information. Section 106 money is, of course, part of the public purse.

Coun Harcourt says, “the community will still benefit from the improved access to the centre and the vacated office can either be re let, providing an income to the community centre, or very easily converted to additional community space.”

I remind him of the statement in the 2014 autumn newsletter which said, “The chair of the parish council said, this work has been in the planning for a number of years and it is good to see the extension finally completed. It will enable the council to provide a much better service to parishioners.”

The Ellendune Community Centre is run by the Ellendune Hall Trust which is charitable organisation. While the trust may be pleased to gain from an incompetent planning arrangement by the parish council it is the Wroughton tax payers who will have to foot the bill for “much needed” but soon to be defunct parish council offices.

Coun Harcourt says, “We consulted with our residents as to whether we should make a bid to take over the running of the library and the majority of the responses we received demonstrated that residents were willing to pay for a library service.”

He gives no indication as to who the consultees were and how many responses were received. It certainly wasn’t done by an inclusive referendum for all residents. I suggest the most likely respondents would have been interested users and user groups which gave a skewed result.

When Swindon Borough Council conducted their feasibility study, to identify the viability of the borough’s library services, Wroughton Library was identified as one underused and too costly to run.

The parish council is proposing to set up the Wroughton Community Library Trust which will represented by five parish councillors and three members of the public.

Apart from providing a library and parish council offices it is proposed that the building will produce income from local groups, exhibitions, events and activities.

Wroughton isn’t short of facilities. It has church halls, a Scout hut, a Guide hut, a village club, a TOC H hall, pavilions, a bowls club, pubs offering spaces for hire and school facilities.

Within 200 metres of the library/community centre is the recently extended, at Wroughton tax payers’ expense, Ellendune Community Centre. This will presumably be competing for the anticipated customers who are expected to use the library/community centre.

It seems to me the library building represents a duplication of resources.

When you have the ability to put your hand into someone else’s pocket to cover the costs, extravagant decisions are not difficult to make.

I suggest residents should keep a careful eye on their “uncapped” parish council precept tax. It is beginning to show signs of spiralling out of control.

K KANE, Wharf Road, Wroughton

Roads will be chaos

IT HAS been brought to my attention that our council are yet again trying to sneak things past the people of Stratton.

We know about the development of the “Eastern Villages” and we all assumed the infrastructure was one of the first things that would have been drawn up.

However, it now appears it wasn’t and we are in a catchup situation regarding the A419, A420, Ermin Street, Oxford Road, Wanborough Road and Merlin Way.

These are the ones that we know about. There may be others that will be affected and probably turned into Rat Runs due to insensitive planning.

There are also plans for a new £15m bridge from the New Eastern Villages over the A419 to the Merlin Way Roundabout which will be for only buses and cyclists.

How many is that? Three buses an hour? Why not spend a bit more and make it into a proper bridge which can take lots of traffic from the Eastern Villages?

There are supposed to be 8,000 homes in this sector, an average of two cars per home equals 16,000 cars. That’s an awful lot extra traffic.

They also propose cutting off Ermin Street and Merlin Way. I have seen the map with these proposals and it’s a shambles.

The council claims that they went through a public consultation but nobody I know ever heard anything about it.

If they are allowed to proceed with this it will lead to total gridlock in Oxford Road for the majority of the day.

Grange Drive will become a rat run and suffer an increase of minimum 50 per cent traffic.

It is also going to affect all industry in the area, including Honda, bus services are going to be abysmal, and there will be increased pollution due to gridlocked traffic.

The time to stop all this is now. Once it is started it will be too late.

We must tell the council to get their act together and sort it out. We are the ones who will have to put up with it and we all pay our taxes so make the council earn its keep.

DAVID COLLINS, Blake Crescent, Swindon

Wear a white poppy

The Peace Pledge Union, which is a pacifist organisation has seen the sale of its white poppies grow significantly in recent years, this in large part can be attributed to the endless rise in wars and acts of terrorism around the globe.

The white poppy, which found its roots from the conscientious objectors from the First World War, is a symbol of peace which remembers all those killed in wars and acts of terrorism regardless of a person’s nationality or race.

Some of the proceeds from the sale of the poppy go towards the PPU giving talks in schools on promoting a better understanding of the causes of war and give awareness of the alternatives to resolve conflict without the use of violence.

If you would like to be in the growing number of those who wear the white poppy then you can purchase them from the Pulse Shop in Curtis Street - 100 yards from the Rolleston Arms.

MARTIN WEBB, Swindon Road, Old Town, Swindon

Shocked by smokers

Visiting the Great Western Hospital recently I was amazed at the way people ignore big notices saying Non-smoking Zone.

People just ignore the notices and, worst of all, there were patients with drips attached smoking, beyond belief but true.

I’m sure the hospital is trying to stop this but I’m sure they have other priorities.

SHIRLEY PICKETT, Ermin Street, Stratton

Who’s counting?

Wow, Steve Thompson. You not only read my letter you managed to do a word count and make a note of how many “insulting” words I used as well. (Mon 23).

You must have an abundance of spare time. If any of the words I used insulted you or anyone then I suggest you stop reading so much.

Also I mentioned two recent events in the Antarctic, nothing else.

And I think you’ll find ‘wind, rain, snow, hurricanes, heat waves’ etc, etc ARE all forms of weather and always have been for millions and millions of years before mankind evolved. Or have you got another comment on that too?