Putting a Stop to Forced Parishing

On Thursday 5th May I was voted in as your Councillor by 301 votes. I would like to thank all those who used their right to vote in the local elections, as well as everyone who voted
for me.  As your local councillor I will represent the interests of everyone in Old Town & East Wichel.   
During the campaign I spelt out the Labour group’s policy that no new parishes should be set up in Old Town, East Wichel or any other part of Swindon, unless a majority of residents taking part in a referendum voted for them.
I take this view because the Council are looking to offload local services like street cleaning, pothole filling and grounds maintenance to new parishes. However though you would be paying a parish council to deliver these services, Swindon Council wouldn’t give you a rebate for no longer running them.  Together with general Council Tax increases, this will mean your overall Council Tax bill will go up by at least £120. And this won’t be the end of the process.  The Council is considering transferring more services in the same way in future, including street lighting and even our libraries.  Where will it end?  
Labour have now requested an extraordinary meeting of Swindon Council at which I will be introducing a motion calling on Council to conduct a local referendum in the non-parished areas of the borough, asking residents if non-parished areas – like Old Town and East Wichel – should be parished or not.
At the same meeting Councillor Matthew Courtliff, voted in on 5th May as the new councillor for Lydiard and Freshbrook, will call on the council not to transfer Lydiard to the private sector.
Taking all the seats contested on 5th May together, Labour candidates won a majority of the votes cast.  I believe this provides a strong mandate for the council to change its policies on parishing and on Lydiard Park.  
The extraordinary meeting will take place in the Council Offices in Euclid St at 7.00 pm on Wednesday 15th June.  
What you can do:

  • Contact other Councillors and ask for their cross-party support on the issues of Parishing and Lydiard Park.
  • Let me know your views on the introduction of parishes and I will pass them on to the Council.
  • Be in the public gallery at the meeting on 15th June.  Even better, ask a question.  If you would like guidance on submitting a question in advance, please contact me.
  • Follow developments on Parishing and Lydiard Park on Facebook, Twitter and here on the South Swindon Labour website