An Adver reader has criticised the council's history of 'broken promises' about restoring the Locarno.

Reader John Stooke wrote: "Your picture on page 6 on January 24 caused me to reflect once more on Swindon’s Old Town Hall and Corn Exchange.

"‘Why’ I hear you say?

"It was not so much the boxes full of loose paper with no lids, it was rather the byline of the photograph which caught my eye, one Councillor Dale Heenan, ex-Conservative Chair of Sustainability, Strategic Planning and just about everything else.

"From his role as the almost daily face in this esteemed organ, we don’t hear much from old Dale these days.

"One wonders if he has been subjected to the same treatment that seems to have befallen Diane Abbott?

"Who can say? ... but the irony, was that it was the second time today, his name cropped up.

"I’m in the process of researching and writing a full history of Swindon’s splendid Old Town Hall, Corn Exchange, and its later life as the Locarno Ballroom, for a talk to be given to the Swindon Society on Wednesday, March 13 (please do excuse the commercial!)

"In this context, Councillor Heenan’s name had refused to be silenced.

"11 years ago, in November 2013, Cllr Heenan was “delighted to have delivered a viable development brief”, “this is a difficult site where no one has found a solution in 30 years” he beamed out.

"In 2016, he proudly announced a development agreement with the now defunct Swindon Corn Exchange Ltd.

"In 2018, he was reported to have agreed to extend the development deadline “there comes a point when you need to draw a line in the sand and we have reached that point”, urgency five years ago (but had he?).

"In 2019, colleague Nick Burns-Howell together with Cllr Heenan said, “If the developer fails again we are preparing to take action” (sounds serious).

"However by February 20th, 2021, Dale Heenan was still repeating that if there was “no planning application by June 2021 we will take further action”.

"There was then a much-trumpeted bid for £2 million under this government’s partisan and absurd Develop Fund or Levelling Up Fund or whatever it’s called, which disappeared into the woodwork.

"There is sadly no room here to trace the role of Conservative Council leader Mike Bawden in this sorry saga, but if you are interested, do come along to the talk.

"Can new leader Jim Robbins do any better?

"Well they seem to have sorted the Oasis, so I am personally optimistic that their businesslike and quietly professional approach, might be more productive?"