PLEASE keep your letters to 250 words maximum giving your name, address and daytime telephone number - even on emails. Email: Write: Swindon Advertiser, 100 Victoria Road, Swindon, SN1 3BE. Phone: 01793 501806.

Anonymity is granted only at the discretion of the editor, who also reserves the right to edit letters.

An unsteady Platform

Whenever you read about the Council planning to hive off an in-house service with the alleged justification that it will be “create long term financial and organisational security” it is time to sit up and take notice (SA 1 Feb).

The Council’s plan to do just that with the Swindon Music Service has little to do with developing and nurturing young musicians, they have seriously neglected to do that for many years, but it does have everything to do with protecting the Council in terms of liability and reducing public scrutiny, challenge and accountability.

The Council is proposing to lease The Platform to the new charity, but only on an extremely short term lease and on the understanding the SMS taking on all the running costs, which I guess would be pretty exorbitant as the building is old and subject to costly ongoing maintenance.

How things have changed since 2010 when Coun Garry Perkins, then Cabinet Member for Children Services, who after spending £1m of council taxpayers cash on The Platform said: “At last we are able to offer young people in Swindon a building which is truly inspirational that will suit their social and educational needs. It will also give them a great space to relax in and have fun, while being able to tap into a wide range of advice, information and guidance.” A mere seven years later the dream is over, the vision gone and the Council is desperately trying to shift a significant liability onto someone else.

How long before SMS does a SEQOL – remember how they were set up as a not for profit organisation, with strong links with the council and yet despite being lauded by the Cabinet member for Health six years later SEQOL folded due to their “challenging financial position and workforce challenges”. We can also look back on the fiasco of Swindon Commercial Services (SCS) a classic example of Council hokey cokey – where they were in, out, shaking it all about.

This facility has not fulfilled its boasted potential as a hub for young people and continues to be a drain on the Council’s finances and yes SMS will almost certainly be hived off (it’s probably a done deal just in need of rubber stamping) and set up as a charity – possibly even managed by the same team.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Close the shops

Remembrance Sunday 2018 falls on November 11, exactly 100 years since the guns fell silent.

Hence there is an overwhelming case for retail closure for Remembrance Sunday 2018 to facilitate a Remembrance Sunday with enhanced peace and decorum and for more working people to have the chance to partake in the Remembrance Sunday events.

Retail would also win as more goods would be purchased prior to the one day closure and on reopening.

MPs and Peers will gain many plaudits were they to rise above party/Brexit divides and legislate for retail closure for Remembrance Sunday 2018.

John Barstow, Member Usdaw Executive Council, West Sussex