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Keep library cafe open

I’ve just listened to Coun Dale Heenan outline his very ambitious plan to provide huge new facilities for culture and the arts, on borough council owned land, around the present Wyvern Theatre.

This was hot on the heels of a similar presentation some 10 days so ago, on ambitious plans for the Mechanics Institute, of which I’m a trustee.

At the same museum meeting, Coun Heenan outlined his further key objectives, to get the Snow Dome project built, (even though that’s a private development) and get the new Zurich offices in Kimmerfields also built (which shouldn’t be too difficult as I am told the Borough Council is borrowing the money for construction against proposed future revenue streams)

Now I’m seriously impressed by the ambition being shown. Readers on occasion, may have noticed criticism of Coun Heenan in the past. I want to say that this compliment is not ‘tongue in cheek’ nor is it ‘damning with faint praise’.

However, on the same day, I learn that the splendid, modest cafeteria in the Central Library is to close at the end of this month.

When I put this to Coun Heenan, in fairness it’s not his portfolio, he thought that it was probably to do with revenue considerations.

Really. So we have on the one hand a grandiose scheme to rebuild a theatre, provide a vast art gallery and museum facility, with all the massive, unquantified, revenue implications of such ambition, yet we seemingly cannot afford to sustain a tiny tea and coffee bar, in our sole existing cultural facility in the much lauded Civic Cultural Centre?

I plan to try to find out more, as I believe this will be one more nail in the coffin of an excellent and well used Central Library, and with the opportunity provided by the closure of the popular cafeteria in Morrisons, opposite, could hardly come at a less appropriate time.

If it is indeed a financial loss maker, frankly I cannot see how. With effectively ‘free’ central real estate, a decent manager, even a volunteer, would surely be able to make this ‘wash its face’

John Stooke, Haydon End, Swindon

Don’t base vote on Brexit

I am not too politically minded but I do have a difference of opinion to Steve Halden when he said that the forthcoming election is all about Brexit!

I thinks it is not about Brexit, I think it is all about how this country will progress forward after the election. We have heard the promises made by Boris Johnson about extra funding for Police and NHS etc, but as with all Politicians, whatever they promise, some promises fail to come to fruition. As for going back to the EU cap in hand to stay in and being totally embarrassed by doing so, never in a million years. So please don’t place your vote based upon Brexit! Opinion will differ I know but that I will base my vote upon.

Chris Gleed, Proud Close, Purton

Chance for a bold move

Never before has this Latin quotation been more apt than surrounding the situation in Regent Circus Swindon and the Mechanics’ Institute in the Railway Village. With the demise of a national supermarket there is now an opportunity for the local council to make a bold move for the town.

I refer of course to the lack of proper facilities to become a museum and to house the town’s not inconsiderable art collection. While, architecturally fine, the current residence of the town’s cultural collection is not befitting our town.

With much talk of the demise of the High Street, here is a wonderful opportunity for the Council to reverse the trend and re-vitalise the top of town before the ex-supermarket sinks into being boarded up premises, like that at the bottom of town. I appreciate that tax-payers does not own the sites, but a long lease should secure their futures for all to enjoy and rejuvenate parts of the town centre.

However, I am ignoring two vital ingredients for this plan to work. The Tory led council has neither the imagination nor the money to bring our town back to life: wringing their hands from the side-lines as gloom and despair envelop the town.

Robert Pixton, Abnet Moor, Liden

A listening ear

Anti-Bullying Week provides a timely reminder that bullying can happen anywhere, to anyone. If your child is being bullied they may feel like there is no escape, but it’s important to talk with them about the different support out there, and help them feel better.

No single sign will confirm that your child is being bullied, but problems with eating or sleeping, becoming withdrawn, not doing well at school, belongings getting ‘lost’, or unexplained physical injuries can all be indicators.

Discovering that your child is being bullied is likely to trigger a huge range of emotions and it can be difficult to know where to start with supporting them. Letting them know you’re there can make a massive difference, and helping them identify trusted adults they can talk to if they don’t want to talk to you or recommending Childline, can help them feel less alone.

Julie Campbell, NSPCC, Local Campaigns Manager

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