Plea to stand firm against Wasdell

An open letter to Swindon Borough Council Planning Committee: Gentlemen and Ladies, on Tuesday next you will be asked to support your own officers and the people of South Swindon villages, and stand up for good governance, in the face of ruthless threats.

Let me be clear. This is not about a Science Park or even an illusory growth in jobs. It is a simple exercise in speculation and Martin Tedham has adopted fairly crude leverage in an attempt to force it through.

Now I’m not blaming him. This is what single-minded businessmen do the world over. But you should you stand firm.

If you approve this vast scheme, there is no guarantee any or all of it will be built. Once permission is granted Wasdell Properties can sell any or all of the land at an eye-watering profit.

It contravenes all your planning policies. If you give in to these threats and sell-out the people of Swindon you must ask yourselves at the same time “Why bother to have a planning committee at all?”

You employ Professional planning officers at huge cost to follow your own policies and those of Government. When they arrive at the only possible conclusion professionals could, they absolutely deserve your support.

You will hear a lot about jobs and the loss of jobs. Flight-of-foot businesses such as pharmaceutical packaging are easy to relocate, so there is no guarantee whatsoever that any jobs talked about will be either created or retained (Wasdell shut their Burnley factory in May last year, virtually overnight). If the employees are so well-trained and skilled, then most of them will relocate to North Hampshire which appears to be another opportunity Wasdell has. I accept the jobs wouldn’t be in Swindon but they wouldn’t disappear.

Mr Tedham has spoken warm words about the Irish Republic post Brexit. It’s possible he could move his whole operation, with post-Brexit EU subsidy, to Dundalk, and his property company hold on to the Wanborough real estate.

If you are prepared to approve industrial development on the edge of outstandingly beautiful natural downland, then I think there would be a queue of industrialists waiting to set up shop.

One could be forgiven for thinking that 1,000,000 ft.² at Symmetry and 375 vacant industrial Honda acres in Stratton, might be just the ticket, but as I say, this is not about consolidating manufacturing.

Assuming your committee does the right thing, then you must ensure that Susie Kemp, David Renard and Paul Moorby seek an early meeting with Martin Tedham. If he is genuine, he will listen to the availability of appropriate land you may have, or contact and access you could exercise. The last thing the Borough Council needs to be, when the application is quite properly rejected is, in Oliver Donnachie’s words, “asleep at the wheel”.

John Stooke

Havisham Drive

Advancing years

Joe Biden has just been officially nominated as the Democrat Party presidential candidate for the November 2020 elections in the USA.

The Democrats are desperate to defeat Donald Trump, but was it wise to select a candidate that will be 78 in the same month as the election.

In the past the Democrats have had some great charismatic leaders such as Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, John F Kennedy and Franklin D Roosevelt.

The Democrats currently have many senators and hundreds of Congressmen to choose from, but with all that choice available they have decided to settle upon a man of advancing years.

Steve Halden

Beaufort Green