Labour group call to gamble on £1m Thamesdown Drive plan

This Is Wiltshire: Plans to improve Thamesdown Drive are likely to cost about £1m Plans to improve Thamesdown Drive are likely to cost about £1m

THE Labour group on Swindon Council is calling for a £1million gamble on the Thamesdown Drive extension to be taken with money earmarked for other projects.

This week it was revealed the council would have to spend £1m on improving its plans for the relief road before funding would be considered from central government.

And Jim Grant, leader of the Labour group, said it was a risk worth taking.

“I believe spending the required money for the design work for the Thamesdown extension road is a long-term investment to help mitigate traffic on Swindon’s roads,” said Coun Grant.

“I am certain that one day the Thamesdown extension road will be built, it is just a matter of when.

“This design work can be kept for years to come if necessary, so the job of the council should be to hasten the construction of this road and this design work is critical in achieving this.

“Residents living in West Swindon and North Swindon who have to endure severe traffic every weekday morning will not forgive Swindon Council for letting this road slip away for another decade or more, so we believe this has to happen and happen at the earliest opportunity.

“I think the Conservative cabinet member’s decision to not do the detailed design is symbolic of this Conservative administration’s attitude towards this road, which is to keep kicking it in to the long grass.

“The previous Labour administration as far back as 2002 were preparing to do the detailed design work for this road because we knew it was essential to manage traffic. We are now more than a decade on and this administration is still making excuses for not providing this road.”

Labour say the funds could be drawn from £3m put aside for the New Homes Bonus, or £850,000 which has been put aside for projects to be announced at cabinet.

But David Renard, leader of the council, said £1m of taxpayer money could not go to waste.

“Everything is about choice,” said Coun Renard. “There is some New Homes Bonus money that could be used, but the question is whether we spend that £1m on a scheme that may not actually happen, or something tangible that we can deliver.

“If the government were willing to give a firm committment that they would fund the road I would be willing to commit the investment. As much as I would like to see that road completed there are better ways to spend £1m.

“While I am very supportive of the project, we have already spent a significant sum of money working up the initial brief after having heard the right noises from the government.

“I am disappointed. This was something I took up when I became leader of the council because it is an important part of infrastructure.

“I think the Labour group are always willing to take a gamble if we say it is not worth taking. They were very quick to oppose the work on Fleming Way. There is an element of risk with everything, and this is too big of a gamble.”

Comments (10)

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6:29am Mon 3 Feb 14

sn5 says...

Luckily for us all Labour will not be in power to waste money like this
Luckily for us all Labour will not be in power to waste money like this sn5
  • Score: 0

6:44am Mon 3 Feb 14

Wildwestener says...

sn5 wrote:
Luckily for us all Labour will not be in power to waste money like this
Couldn't disagree more about this being a waste of money; it's not - it's called investment and would show central govt that the problems that successive Govt (Labour and Tory) have left us with, traffic-wise in Swindon, are so bad we need to do something drastic about it. If SBC wont invest in this, why would central govt?
[quote][p][bold]sn5[/bold] wrote: Luckily for us all Labour will not be in power to waste money like this[/p][/quote]Couldn't disagree more about this being a waste of money; it's not - it's called investment and would show central govt that the problems that successive Govt (Labour and Tory) have left us with, traffic-wise in Swindon, are so bad we need to do something drastic about it. If SBC wont invest in this, why would central govt? Wildwestener
  • Score: 7

6:56am Mon 3 Feb 14

Ian13 says...

Forget the politics and feasibility studies - just build the road!!
Forget the politics and feasibility studies - just build the road!! Ian13
  • Score: 14

7:01am Mon 3 Feb 14

swindondad says...

Judging by the chaos reported on the town’s roads last week and the regular complaints I hear from staff and visitors as they arrive late at work / for meetings improvements to Swindon’s road network are long overdue.
Judging by the chaos reported on the town’s roads last week and the regular complaints I hear from staff and visitors as they arrive late at work / for meetings improvements to Swindon’s road network are long overdue. swindondad
  • Score: 16

7:26am Mon 3 Feb 14

John~R says...

Getting this road built is a no-brainer. It should have been one of the infrastructure developments funded by Section 106 money from the housing developments in north Swindon.
Getting this road built is a no-brainer. It should have been one of the infrastructure developments funded by Section 106 money from the housing developments in north Swindon. John~R
  • Score: 16

8:18am Mon 3 Feb 14

house on the hill says...

Agree with Ian, take the politics out of it and get it done. Start doing things for the benefit of Swindon not just your own agenda's.
Agree with Ian, take the politics out of it and get it done. Start doing things for the benefit of Swindon not just your own agenda's. house on the hill
  • Score: 17

9:44am Mon 3 Feb 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

It is up to the citizens of Swindon to decide how this bonus money is spent, so maybe the council could draw up some options and let the people of Swindon decide in a referendum, this is called direct Democracy.
It is up to the citizens of Swindon to decide how this bonus money is spent, so maybe the council could draw up some options and let the people of Swindon decide in a referendum, this is called direct Democracy. A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: 6

11:17am Mon 3 Feb 14

Davey Gravey says...

sn5 wrote:
Luckily for us all Labour will not be in power to waste money like this
If you live in the sn5 area this would benefit you. How is it a waste of money?
[quote][p][bold]sn5[/bold] wrote: Luckily for us all Labour will not be in power to waste money like this[/p][/quote]If you live in the sn5 area this would benefit you. How is it a waste of money? Davey Gravey
  • Score: 1

12:54pm Mon 3 Feb 14

Missthril says...

Thamesdown Drive desperately needs to be improved. The rush hour traffic along TD has been getting steadily worse in the 5 odd years I've lived here. My commute time to work has more than doubled, (same distance, same timing) this is only going to get worse when the new houses are built, and the extra cars start coming through.

I'm all for development, after all it's the only way we can move forward as a country, but have the Infrastructure to back it up.

*TLDR* Just sort the road already...
Thamesdown Drive desperately needs to be improved. The rush hour traffic along TD has been getting steadily worse in the 5 odd years I've lived here. My commute time to work has more than doubled, (same distance, same timing) this is only going to get worse when the new houses are built, and the extra cars start coming through. I'm all for development, after all it's the only way we can move forward as a country, but have the Infrastructure to back it up. *TLDR* Just sort the road already... Missthril
  • Score: 4

6:32pm Mon 3 Feb 14

1 2 Could B says...

Davey Gravey wrote:
sn5 wrote:
Luckily for us all Labour will not be in power to waste money like this
If you live in the sn5 area this would benefit you. How is it a waste of money?
How is improving access, traffic flow, efficiency for businesses, etc a "wasting money" ??
Other than it should have been a proviso of the developments in the first place
[quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sn5[/bold] wrote: Luckily for us all Labour will not be in power to waste money like this[/p][/quote]If you live in the sn5 area this would benefit you. How is it a waste of money?[/p][/quote]How is improving access, traffic flow, efficiency for businesses, etc a "wasting money" ?? Other than it should have been a proviso of the developments in the first place 1 2 Could B
  • Score: 2

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