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Real world costs

Coun Dale Heenan loves the big headline.

Having wasted three years and millions on the doomed SMAG Princes Street car park proposal, a nine months “so called” consultation was begun, ending with a new headline Demolish the Wyvern, which almost no respondent suggested.

At the same time, he is planning to spend large sums of (borrowed) capital on Bath Road, to prolong its life, or put another way, to kick a solution to Bath Road into the very long grass.

This of course is vintage Heenan. I recall three years ago when I was part of a TDeX committee, formed to seek to extend Thamesdown Drive onward to B & Q as originally committed. Coun Heenan ended up with the chair… and what a disaster. Then his big headline was Government to spend £20 million on New Relief Road. Against all committee advice, he got a junior in the highways department, to rehash an old options analysis written by Halcrow, into a 12 mm thick, recycled, document which advanced nothing.

Again, against advice, he sent this to the DOT with a request for an immediate £2 million in cash, to undertake a feasibility design study, with the Council’s contribution, zilch. He got his headline, followed predictably by a raspberry from Government and the result? No more meetings and no more action.

There is an important, yet limited, appetite for the arts in Swindon. This means you need modest, sensible and sustainable ideas, and not grandiose headlines that lead nowhere. Swindon centre is awash with empty buildings which could easily and quickly be adopted, not overlooking the Carriage Works and the Mechanics Institute.

Does he seriously believe he can saddle a new private company, operating an enlarged Wyvern, with the revenue cost of a museum and art gallery? I say this, because he continues to slice and dice the tiny subsidy, currently provided to Bath Road. Perhaps he needs to read the rebuttal from the Lottery Fund, which, amongst other things, said the break-even forecasts in the proposal were unreliable. Cutting current revenue support to Bath Road will mean less staff and shorter opening hours, and as Linda Kasmaty correctly said “He needs to get realistic on how to run a museum and art gallery”.

As his final departure from reality, the good councillor states “ the museum budget must break even.” Sounds like Sophie and Co are going to need to sell a lot more postcards!

John Stooke, Havisham Drive, Swindon

Motor powering down

I wish all of the Honda workers every success on their march of hope, however we need to look at the fact that motor manufacturers around the world are just not selling in any quantity vehicles in Europe.

I note that 5000 Ford workers in Germany could lose their jobs with a possible knock on effect in Britain.

If we are all serious and look at the main cause of this downturn of imported vehicles into Europe, the problem is quite obvious. The German owned motor manufacturers steam roller is having an effect worldwide. A further concern is French owned Vauxhall. Is Elsmere Port safe?

A further problem could be President Trump waiting for Britain to exit Europe before introducing further tariffs on some European products if he does go ahead and Britain is tied to the EU it may have a devastating effect on British industry inc Rolls Royce ‘’ air and motor ‘’ Bentley, Aston, Land Rover, JCB etc.

Europe will eventually cause major disruption worldwide. We should be no part of it.

Ray Page, Highworth

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