Updates from your Labour Councillors – Autumn 2020

East Wichel Play Area is to be transformed by South Swindon Parish

Councillors Neil Hopkins, Nadine Watts and Jane Milner-Barry.

South Swindon Parish Council’s programme of updating the play areas is continuing with the complete refurbishment of East Wichel Play Area. More than £80,000 is being invested in improving and draining the play area, which serves the young families of East Wichel and has become increasingly dilapidated. Drainage issues were not properly addressed before the play area was opened eight years ago and, as local residents are only too aware, the field can flood in winter. New equipment will include an impressive “Multi-Play Unit” with slides, climbing walls, and bridges. Some of the existing equipment will be retained and refurbished, including the sandpit where a working mini-digger is being installed. We hope the work will be completed before the winter.

The Green Home Grants Scheme

The scheme goes live at the end of September. The Government will provide up to £5,000 to help cover the cost of a range of measures to make your home more energy efficient (£10,000 if you receive qualifying benefits). See https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-green-homes-grant-scheme . We would be glad to hear your views on the scheme and will do our best to help with any queries.

Garden Plant Sale

Parish Councillor Linda Kasmaty held a plant sale in her front garden on 13th September to raise funds for Swindon’s much-loved Olive Tree Café (run by the Recovery Tree charity) and OTRA Gardens, the Old Town Residents’ Association community gardening initiative. The sale raised over £640.00.

School Safety Environment Zones

Swindon Council will be investing £100,000 a year for five years in setting up School Safety Environment Zones. SSEZs will comprise a package of measures to improve safety around schools. East Wichel Primary, Croft Primary and Commonweal are among the 15 schools to be addressed in 2020-2021. If you have suggestions about how areas around schools could be made safer, please get in touch with us.

Old Town Railway Path - Maintenance Works

The Council has been carrying out maintenance works along the Railway Path under the Emergency Active Travel Fund programme, improving drainage and the path surface. We are asking that SBC should also resurface the path leading up to the Railway Path from Mill Lane. Since SBC removed the hard surface two years ago the path has become increasingly uneven with tree roots projecting above the ground.

OTRA Gardens

In October, Old Town’s community gardeners will be continuing to meet at 10.00 am on Wednesdays to prepare the flowerbeds for winter. Your help would be very welcome, but please contact Linda Kasmaty in advance as Covid rules mean only six gardeners at a time!

Local Action Will Help The Bees

David Attenborough’s recent documentary, “Extinction: The Facts”, was extremely frightening. But it was also a call to action. We rely on insects to pollinate our food crops, and insect numbers are in steep decline. We can all do our bit to help out. South Swindon Parish Council is working on a new grass-cutting schedule under which selected green areas will be left uncut till later in the year. This will allow plants to flower and give time for seed to be shed, building up a population of the wild flowers that sustain pollinating insects and other wildlife.

Speeding Traffic

We are continuing to press the Council to take action on the acute dangers posed by speeding traffic in Old Town. A serious road traffic accident occurred on Croft Road early on Saturday 29th August. Speed surveys are being carried out this autumn on Goddard Avenue & Westlecot Road. A pedestrian refuge was installed at the bottom of Croft Road earlier in September after pressure from residents and your Labour councillors persuaded Taylor Wimpey to honour their commitment to provide one.

Old Town Library

Borrowers can now book a 20-minute browsing session in the adult library. There are lots of newly arrived books, so come and have a look!

A 50-minute computer session can be booked via email or phone. Borrowers are asked to wear face coverings inside the building.

The children’s library remains closed, but children’s books can still be borrowed: order online and collect at the desk. Or just let the library know the age and interests of your child and the library will make up a surprise book bundle for them.

The library is open
11.00 – 3.00 Mon – Fri
10.00 – 11.30 on Saturdays.
Tel: 07786 027185

Quarry Road - The Rec and Tennis Courts

Following complaints from residents over the poor state of the tennis courts in Quarry Road, South Swindon Parish Council, which already has a lease on the play area, has offered to take over the tennis courts and the grass recreation area from SBC with a view to improving these community assets.

Waste Bins

Residents report that overflowing waste bins in Quarry Road are an increasing nuisance. The Parish Council has agreed to replace this one with a much more capacious free-standing bin with a lid.

Please don’t hesitate to contact your Old Town Labour Team about any issues of concern to you.

Our contact details are below. Keep an eye on our facebook page: ‘Old Town & East Wichel Labour Swindon’. For forthcoming Labour Councillor Surgeries held via Zoom, see the ‘Swindon Labour Councillors’ facebook page.

Nadine Watts
07595 071381
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Jane Milner-Barry
07864 839746
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Parish Councillor
Neil Hopkins
07799 866396
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Parish Councillor
Linda Kasmaty
07765 050470
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