We've heard it all before

Coun David Renard displays an amazing amount of chutzpah when writing about an exciting proposal to build a brand new cultural quarter in the town centre.

How many times have the people of Swindon been promised a cultural quarter only to realise that words and not actions are the stock in trade of politicians?

In 2003 Justin Tomlinson the council's lead member for culture and recreation (now one of the town’s MPs) said: "What is being talked about is a super flagship development in which to house a central library, museum, art gallery and frontline council services. This is very exciting for Swindon and is something residents and business both want to see.

In January 2006 the Swindon Adver carried a story in which it was aid that “Swindon could be playing host to major events if plans to merge the Wyvern Theatre and Civic Offices and open a conference centre come off. Swindon Council is looking at building a new civic centre on the Princes Street car park, which would be next to the new central library and would incorporate the Wyvern Theatre. As the plans are in the early stages, no information about the cost or time scale is available, but councillors hope the new offices will be up and running by 2010.

Deputy leader Coun Roderick Bluh (Con, Dorcan), said: "It is all quite exciting, but nothing has been decided yet.

"There are a lot of ideas to consider and that is just one of them."

Some 15 years later Coun Renard is making pretty much the same claim, a new civic centre, a larger Wyvern theatre and a projection that the development of a cultural quarter could add more than £35m a year to Swindon’s economy, and create as many as 1,200 jobs.

The caveats underpinning these figures are not revealed, but I guess many residents will be rightly suspicious of such unsubstantiated claims. At least Coun Renard has learned one lesson, which is never overpromise on delivery, and whereas Coun Bluh appeared confident that the development would be “up and running” within 4 years, the scheme is now anticipated as taking 10 years to come to fruition.

Oh, did I mention that back in the 1970’s the council had ambitious plans for a new civic centre, and concert hall, or that the development was to be on the site of the Princes Street car park. Some 50 years on the Council is still doing what it does best – talking.

Des Morgan

Caraway Drive


Wrong way round

Cyclists seem to have taken over the pavements which are for pedestrians not cyclists.

The Highway Code Rule 64 says "you MUST NOT cycle on a pavement."

This morning I was walking along the pavement and suddenly I was overtaken by a teenage boy on a bike, I turned my head and yet another boy rode past, I had not heard them approach at all.

Ahead of me were two schoolgirls walking side by side. The boys stopped as they could not get past as the pavement was not wide enough.

The girls turned as they heard the bike brakes, and the girls stepped off the pavement into the road, so that the boys could continue riding on the pavement.

This is the wrong way round, WHY were the boys on the pavement, they should be on the road.

This is becoming more and more common - yet the roads are quieter than in normal times.

I am quite happy for young/primary school children to ride on the pavement for safety, but not teenagers and adults.

Sue Reeve

Laburnum Drive

Royal Wootton Bassett