I have to admit when the idea of parish councils across Swindon was mooted, I was a cynic. Oh come on, you were too, weren’t you? I felt it was just a way of Swindon Borough Council passing the buck; a way of them to pass responsibilities on to someone else. But I’m pleased to say, I was wrong.
I live in South Swindon and the parish has done an amazing job. In fact in conversation with a local charity it was said, “I really think South Swindon Parish are leading the way.” I thought she was probably right at the time, but that was before I went to Enchanted Gardens in Town Gardens. Let’s be clear, Enchanted Gardens was a risk. You are asking local people to pay £10 to walk around their own park in the dark! But they did the sums, they looked at other examples of light shows, in considerably more prestigious venues and South Swindon Parish took the risk.
They took the risk in the summer to use the amazing bowl for theatre productions- where else could you see live theatre at that time? I didn’t go and I regret it now. I did go to Enchanted Gardens. In fact it was the highlight of my birthday. OK, my inner child isn’t far beneath the surface, but the oohs and aahs from adults as well as children showed that this was a captivating experience.
South Swindon Parish is Labour controlled. I am proud of that. Proud that they have the vision to see, in these difficult times, that art and culture enrich the soul. At a time when Tory controlled Swindon Borough Council has shut our art gallery, with the best twentieth century collection of art outside London. At a time when Swindon Borough Council are quite happy to see another listed building demolished, a Labour controlled parish thinks not just about our streets, but also our souls.