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Lack of innovation

I was delighted to read the letter from Peter Monk regarding the innovativeness of the then Thamesdown Borough Council planning officers, which resulted in Honda locating to Swindon.

As access officer around that time, Peter was very useful and approachable when we were pursuing (with opposition from some sides) the installation of disabled facilities in the Ellendune Community Centre, Wroughton. This eventually came to fruition with his help and advice. However, sadly, such innovation and helpfulness is not currently apparent from the Swindon Borough Council planning department.

Recently, I needed some quick advice on a planning matter and rang a number found on the website. After 10 minutes with no reply, I hung up and redialled the general switchboard number. Again, after a wait of almost 15 minutes an adviser answered and declined my request to be put through to a planning officer. She would, apparently, be able to help me - by Googling, I suspect, since it would be an impossible task to respond to such a variety of specialties. I declined and was then told to email my enquiry, with no indication of when a response might come.

In frustration, and needing a quick response, prior to a meeting that afternoon, I drove in to Wat Tyler House to be met by a meeter and greeter who, again directed me to their computers to send an email. I still do not have the answer to my simple question and it is now too late. As a service it’s rubbish and the galling part is that this is what we pay for!

Liz Derbyshire, Perry’s Lane, Wroughton

Digital City repeat

You would have thought Swindon Borough Council might have learned from its past forays into financing sectors which it has little experience of. One can only reflect on the saga of Digital City where the council loaned £400k to a company which produced absolutely zilch and ended up costing the taxpayers because the loan was NEVER repaid. This despite councillors promising that it would be and with interest to boot.

Today the Adver reports on the council’s wholly owned company the Swindon Housing Company which has cost yet another £400k to set up. We are assured that the money will be paid back as it is a loan – we all know that’s a promise which will not be kept. The company has not actually built any houses. But it has done something quite amazing – it has sold off land for housing to housing developers. According to Coun Russell Holland this equates to a success for the company as it has brought in money to the council. What sort of fools does Coun Holland take the people of Swindon for?

The land that the Swindon Housing Company sold was owned by Swindon Borough Council, who could have sold it themselves without the aid of a middle man. Councillors are always telling the people of Swindon the authority needs to make savings and cut service support. At the same time they loan £400k to a newly formed company which is a waste of scarce resource and reflects poor management by the cabinet.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Thinking ahead

I was interested to read the letter from Roy Small about the dangers around the area of the Bolingbroke Hotel at Hook by the approach speed of drivers in the area making things dangerous for people leaving the hotel. The suggestion was made about the entrance and exit possibly being moved! Once again I have to comment that the drivers in the Swindon area are, at times, unable to think for themselves. We at Swindon Advanced Motorists produce Thinking Drivers who prepare for this scenario.

As an advanced driver approaches the blind bend by the Bolingbroke, he/she realises that there could be traffic in the area around hours of business and of course, possible delivery vehicles. They know the hotel is there. That said, we slow down on approach and give ourselves time to react. That gives anyone pulling out time to do so.

Food for thought but I feel that the media and drivers do not pay enough attention to the possibility of extra driver training that we offer.

Chris Gleed, Proud Close, Purton

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