We were surprised to learn through the columns of the Swindon Advertiser that the Conservative Administration is negotiating about the Purton-Iffley Relief Road (Thamesdown Drive to Barnfield Roundabout), which many people in Mannington and Western see as a bypass to keep traffic off Mead Way and to reduce congestion at Bruce Street bridges. However would anyone seriously open negotiations with the statement “Despite the importance of the road, it would not appear in the Core Strategy because this key strategic planning document had to be “deliverable”. The relief road was not currently possible because it lacked financial backing.”
By stating this Swindon Conservatives are sending a clear message to its own government that they are in nothing more than a tea and sympathy mode and not serious about this urgently needed inner relief road.
The Core Strategy will cover a period of at least 10 years and for Conservative Councillors to admit they have no intention of doing anything because in their view it is undeliverable demonstrates poor leadership and a lack of commitment to this project. The road must be part of the Core Strategy and Swindon Council must use that fact in its negotiations with government to secure the funding needed for the project. We would also remind your readers that in 2002/3 money was provided by the last Labour led council to start the design work on this project, which stopped once the Conservatives took control, and it was a Labour Group motion submitted to the last Council meeting that forced the Council to start the negotiation process.
We feel that the Conservative administration is more than aware of the pressure that will be brought to bear on them by developers and their comments were for developers’ consumption only, and no more than a warning to them to take their tanks off the Council’s Core Strategy lawn. After all Swindon’s Core Strategy has already hit the buffers once, because there were over 1400 objections.
Mannington and Western Labour Councillors made a pledge at the last election to campaign for the Purton-Iffley Relief Road and we intend to do so. We will continue to pursue the inclusion of this scheme in the Core Strategy and as a Strategic Council Objective. Money was found to provide a Whichelstowe Bypass, so it can be found again for this relief road where the need is clearly overwhelming.
Cllr Jim Robbins Cllr Kevin Small Cllr Steve Wakefield
Mannington Western Councillors