Thursday 22 July 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 1,094 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 12-18 July, up 517 on the week before. This equates to 492 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 495 (304 the week before).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• Follow the progress on the plans to save The Oasis on twitter at @SaveOasis and on the Save the Oasis’ FB page.

• See last week’s column (below) for what seems to be an increasingly confusing story involving the closure (or not) of the Museum and Art Gallery in the Old Town. The matter has now spilled out beyond the borough and has come to the attention of the Council for British Archaeology which has written a letter of concern. The first and the last paragraphs give a pretty good flavour of the rest of it. “We have been made aware,” the communication kicks off, “of the current proposals to close Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, dispose of the listed building that houses it and put all the collections including the archaeology collection into storage until a new venue is available as part of a proposed cultural quarter. As we understand it there is no detailed plan in place for the new facilities or agreed budget and timescale for delivery of the cultural quarter.” It concludes with the aspiration that “We would welcome your assurance that any decision will be robustly tested against an open business plan and a clear understanding of the wider impacts of this highly regarded local museum.” The ball seems to be in Swindon Council’s court on this one.

• On this subject, Swindon Link reported last week that “Councillor Rob Jandy, who represents Stratton St Margaret, has been given the Culture, Heritage, Leisure and Town Centre Experience portfolio. This is apparently a partially amended version of the regeneration, culture and heritage role held by Covingham and Dorcan councillor Dale Heenen until his resignation last week.”

• The Art in Windows trail of ten artworks from the Swindon Collection can be found in shop windows throughout the Town Centre. An audio-tour will be launching soon and you can also go on an art-venture treasure hunt with the whole family.

• Volunteers from Swindon & District Samaritans will be at Wharf Green on Friday 23 July to promote their “Talk To Us” support campaign.

The Advertiser reports that Wiltshire Council has issued three £400 Fixed Penalty Notices recently to householders in Wiltshire and Swindon for failing to ensure their waste was passed to a licenced waste carrier, resulting in rubbish being fly tipped.

• You can click here to see Swindon Council’s web pages devoted its town-centre regeneration programme.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

• Anyone who has used the Emergency Department at Great Western Hospital since 1 March 2021 is invited to complete this short Healthwatch West Berkshire survey to share their views and experiences.

• The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust’s Visitor Centre in Swindon’s has recently re-opened after an 18-month closure.

• Swindon Council says that residents can take advantage of a change to the online booking system at the Household Waste Recycling Centre with extra slots now being available.

• The Council also claims that fifteen new schools will benefit from its School Safe Environment Zone Scheme (SSEZ) over the next year.

• Members of the public are being invited to have their say on a draft strategy which aims to improve safety on Swindon’s roads. This closes on 27 August.

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council  took place on 8 July and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Wanborough Parish Council took place on 28 June and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Parish Council took place on 17 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Shrivenham Parish Council took place on 5 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Chiseldon Parish Council took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Watchfield Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 5 May and you can download the minutes here.

Click here to read the July edition of the varied and entertaining Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Village News, which this month includes reports from village groups and societies, the cutest sheep in the world, an animated canine crossword, 117 years at Prebendal, fudge, a missing vicar, crying the neck, institutional vandalism and professional tennis players’ feet.

Swindon area council news

Borough council: Swindon Borough Council.

Other councils, each of which cover part of this area: Vale of White Horse District Council and Wiltshire County Council.

Parishes: click here for Royal Wootton Bassett Town Council, Chiseldon Parish CouncilShrivenham Parish Council, Watchfield Parish Council, Wanborough Parish Council, Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Parish Council and Ashbury Parish Council.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Hungerford area; Lambourn Valley; Marlborough area; Newbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and Downlands; Theale area; Wantage area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

Thursday 15 July 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 578 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 5-11 July, up 223 on the week before. This equates to 260 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 304 (212 the week before).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• As reported last week the campaign to save the Oasis seems to have taken a step forward Follow the progress on twitter at @SaveOasis and on the Save the Oasis’ FB page.

• See last week’s column (below) for what seems to be a rather chaotic story involving the closure (or not) of the Museum and Art Gallery in the Old Town. You might also like to see this petition from the Friends of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery. The proposition is that “We support the call by the Friends of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery for the Swindon Collection of Modern British Art and the Museum Collections to be retained on show in Apsley House until they can be moved to a new home where they are on show to the public. We believe that the dispersal and mothballing of the collections would be highly damaging to Swindon’s bid for City status. We reject the recommendations in the Cabinet Member Decision Note and call for a further report to be produced setting out all the options for the future of the collections and of Apsley House, for all funding opportunities to be investigated, and for a debate to be held in full Council  before any decisions are made.”

• On this subject, Swindon Link reports that “Councillor Rob Jandy, who represents Stratton St Margaret, has been given the Culture, Heritage, Leisure and Town Centre Experience portfolio. This is apparently a partially amended version of the regeneration, culture and heritage role held by Covingham and Dorcan councillor Dale Heenen until his resignation last week.”

• The Art in Windows trail of ten artworks from the Swindon Collection can be found in shop windows throughout the Town Centre. An audio-tour will be launching soon and you can also go on an art-venture treasure hunt with the whole family. This project is made possible with generous sponsorship from Sir Christopher Le Brun and the Friends of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.

• The Advertiser reports that a property developer has been told she could be forced to tear down three half-built luxury homes on land at Eastrop Farm, off Shrivenham Road.

The same paper reports that Wiltshire Council has issued three £400 Fixed Penalty Notices recently to householders in Wiltshire and Swindon for failing to ensure their waste was passed to a licenced waste carrier, resulting in rubbish being fly tipped.

• South Swindon MP Robert Buckland has issued an update on his joint campaign with Swindon Seniors Forum to tackle loneliness, Swindon Link reports.

• You can click here to see Swindon Council’s web pages devoted its town-centre regeneration programme.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

• Anyone who has used the Emergency Department at Great Western Hospital since 1 March 2021 is invited to complete this short Healthwatch West Berkshire survey to share their views and experiences.

• The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust’s Visitor Centre in Swindon’s has recently re-opened after an 18-month closure.

• Swindon Council says that residents can now take advantage of a change to the online booking system at the Household Waste Recycling Centre with extra slots now being available.

• The Council also claims that fifteen new schools will benefit from its School Safe Environment Zone Scheme (SSEZ) over the next year.

• Members of the public are being invited to have their say on a draft strategy which aims to improve safety on Swindon’s roads. This closes on 27 August.

Wiltshire Police calls on the public to help shape policing by joining its local Independent Advisory Group.

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Shrivenham Parish Council took place on 5 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Chiseldon Parish Council took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Wanborough Parish Council took place on 17 May and you can read the minutes here. You can also click here to see the presentation to the PC’s presentation to the annual parish assembly on 24 May.

• The most recent meeting of Watchfield Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 5 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Parish Council took place on 17 May and you can download the minutes here.

Click here to read the July edition of the varied and entertaining Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Village News, which this month includes reports from village groups and societies, the cutest sheep in the world, an animated canine crossword, 117 years at Prebendal, fudge, a missing vicar, crying the neck, institutional vandalism and professional tennis players’ feet. There – I told you it was varied.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 20 May and you can download the minutes here.

Thursday 8 July 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 351 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 28 June to 4 July, up 194 on the week before. This equates to 158 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 212 (122 the week before).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• As reported last week the campaign to save the Oasis seems to have taken a step forward as a result of a recent “fruitful” meeting between campaigners and Seven Capital on 30 June Follow the progress on twitter at @SaveOasis and on the Save the Oasis’ FB page.

• This problem was then seemingly replaced by another with Born-again Swindonian reporting on 3 July that the Museum and Art Gallery in the Old Town was to close. Two days later, the Town Council issued this statement headlined “Swindon Museum and Art Gallery is safe” and concluding with Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Culture, Heritage and Leisure, repeating this and adding that “there is a long-term costed plan. Art is currently, and will remain, on display around the town.” It seems that both reports might be correct as it may no longer be possible to house this at Apsley House which “has deteriorated significantly in recent years and is no longer regarded as being suitable to house Swindon Museum and Art Gallery’s collections as major building work needs to be carried out.” However, Swindon Link reports that on 8 July he resigned from his above-mentioned role “amid the ongoing controversy over the future of Apsley House.” Councillor Heenan then “repeated his criticism of the Friends of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, accusing them of making false claims on social media that a decision to make the closure permanent had been made.” On 7 July he was “publicly rebuked” by former Council Deputy leader Russel Holland who said that “what should have been a good natured and important discussion about the future of the Museum has now taken an unfortunate and wholly unnecessary turn.” Seems like one of those situations where everyone, particularly whoever is now holding this red-hot portfolio at SBC, needs to take a deep breath and start again.

• And speaking of which, the Art in Windows trail of ten artworks from the Swindon Collection can be found in shop windows throughout the Town Centre. An audio-tour will be launching soon and you can also go on an art-venture treasure hunt with the whole family. This project is made possible with generous sponsorship from Sir Christopher Le Brun and the Friends of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.

• You can click here to see Swindon Council’s web pages devoted its town-centre regeneration programme.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

• Anyone who has used the Emergency Department at Great Western Hospital since 1 March 2021 is invited to complete this short Healthwatch West Berkshire survey to share their views and experiences.

• The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust’s Visitor Centre in Swindon’s has recently re-opened after an 18-month closure.

• Swindon Council says that residents can now take advantage of a change to the online booking system at the Household Waste Recycling Centre with extra slots now being available.

• The Council also claims that fifteen new schools will benefit from its School Safe Environment Zone Scheme (SSEZ) over the next year.

• Members of the public are being invited to have their say on a draft strategy which aims to improve safety on Swindon’s roads. This closes on 27 August.

Wiltshire Police calls on the public to help shape policing by joining its local Independent Advisory Group.

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Shrivenham Parish Council took place on 5 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Chiseldon Parish Council took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Wanborough Parish Council took place on 17 May and you can read the minutes here. You can also click here to see the presentation to the PC’s presentation to the annual parish assembly on 24 May.

• The most recent meeting of Watchfield Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 5 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Parish Council took place on 17 May and you can download the minutes here.

Click here to read the July edition of the varied and entertaining Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Village News, which this month includes reports from village groups and societies, the cutest sheep in the world, an animated canine crossword, 117 years at Prebendal, fudge, a missing vicar, crying the neck, institutional vandalism and professional tennis players’ feet. There – I told you it was varied.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 20 May and you can download the minutes here.

Thursday 1 July 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 159 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 21-28 June, up 25 on the week before. This equates to 72 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 122 (67 the week before).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• Campaigners report that “after pleading for seven months”, the Oasis has finally become a bit more secure with metal sheeting. Hopefully this will protect it from further damage by vandals. “It is a shame it took this long,” a SaveOasis spokesperson said, “but maybe they know the building is on its way to becoming a listed.” Families are understandably upset by the loss of this long-loved sport and recreation facility. Follow the campaing on twitter at @SaveOasis and on the Save the Oasis’ FB page.

• The good and breaking news is there seems to have been a breakthrough. As Born-again Swindonian reports, “Damien Siviter, part of  executive team SevenCapital [to whom the Oasis has been leased] recently contacted the campaign requesting a meeting. On Wednesday 30 June two campaign representatives, Tony Hillier and Neil Robinson, headed to the Park Lane, London offices of the development company.” The ultimate upshot of what seems to have been a “fruitful” discussion is a three-way media release between the SOS campaign, Swindon Borough Council and SevenCapital. Much that was discussed must remain confidential but the campaigners new feel that “it seems that SevenCapital never had any intention of removing the leisure facilities from that site.” Born-again Swindonian goes on to say that “the important point is that channels of communication are now open,” something that seemed unlikely even a couple of weeks ago. For more information and to read the press release, please click here.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

• The Art in Windows trail of ten artworks from the Swindon Collection can be found in shop windows throughout the Town Centre. An audio-tour will be launching soon and you can also go on an art-venture treasure hunt with the whole family. This project is made possible with generous sponsorship from Sir Christopher Le Brun and the Friends of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.

• Anyone who has used the Emergency Department at Great Western Hospital since 1 March 2021 is invited to complete this short Healthwatch West Berkshire survey to share their views and experiences.

• You can click here to see Swindon Council’s web pages devoted its town-centre regeneration programme. The Advertiser reports here that the Council has been told that “shopping in Swindon, in both the town centre and Old Town, should become more of a leisure experience and a place to enjoy rather than just a buying mission.”

• The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust’s Visitor Centre in Swindon’s has recently re-opened after an 18-month closure.

• A survey has been launched to plan the future of GWR Park on Faringdon Road.

• Swindon Council says that residents will soon be able to take advantage of a change to the online booking system at the Household Waste Recycling Centre.

• The Council also claims that fifteen new schools will benefit from its School Safe Environment Zone Scheme (SSEZ) over the next year.

• Members of the public are being invited to have their say on a draft strategy which aims to improve safety on Swindon’s roads.

Wiltshire Police calls on the public to help shape policing by joining its local Independent Advisory Group.

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Shrivenham Parish Council took place on 5 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Chiseldon Parish Council took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Wanborough Parish Council took place on 17 May and you can read the minutes here. You can also click here to see the presentation to the PC’s presentation to the annual parish assembly on 24 May.

• The most recent meeting of Watchfield Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 5 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Parish Council took place on 17 May and you can download the minutes here.

Click here to read the June edition of the Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Village News.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 20 May and you can download the minutes here.

Thursday 24 June 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 134 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 14-20 June, up 40 on the week before. This equates to 60 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 67 (44 the week before).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

• The Save the Oasis campaign group organised a family rally/protest in support of the campaign. Around 75 people came including many families (see here for photos). Several people spoke at the event including campaign coordinator Neil Robinson, Born Again Swindonian Angela Atkinson and Helena Williams Bowie who spoke about its importance as an inclusive venue and raised some important points about the needs of the disabled community. Tony Hillier, Swindon community poet and seasoned campaigner licked us all into shape and MC-ed the thing. There was music (from Jol Rose) and poetry (from Owen Collins). With support from community union, Acorn, the campaigners have written an open letter to Seven Capital in the hope this, unlike previous communications, produces a response.

So – what next? The group will soon be meeting to decide this and also awaits the results of the listing application (not put in by the campaign group). You can keep up to date with the campaign on the Save the Oasis’ FB page.

• Back in 2018, Sir John Timpson, owner of the retail giant Timpson, chaired the High Street Report. That report said a lot of things but one of its key messages can be condensed into “town centres everywhere have become too big with too much retail offering for a changed retail world. They need to shrink, condense and become mixed use to reinvent themselves. Town centres must become a mix of residential, retail, coworking and commercial. Do that and the rest will follow. People clearly still desire a central space to socialise – witness the rise and rise of the coffee shop.”

Swindon is, as Angela Atkinson from Born-again Swindonian points out, no exception to any of that. “Certainly the GWR Railway village conservation area has for too long languished as an un-loved and disconnected heritage space. It’s the shortest of walks from the outlet centre, through the GWR Workers’ tunnel to the railway village. And no distance at all from there to the centre of town. Yet the traffic management is such that you might as well be crossing the Brenner Pass after an avalanche. The Historic England heritage action zone and the further funding from the government town fund will see real change to that situation over the next few years. That can only be an exciting and positive development for the heritage action zone and for Swindon as a whole.”

• You can click here to see Swindon Council’s web pages devoted its town-centre regeneration programme. The Advertiser reports here that the Council has been told that “shopping in Swindon, in both the town centre and Old Town, should become more of a leisure experience and a place to enjoy rather than just a buying mission.”

Swindon Link reports that a new mural “to lift community spirits after a difficult year” has been installed at the front of Debenhams in Swindon town centre.

The same source looks at Swindon Town FC’s pre-season training preparations.

• Swindon Bus Company has re-instated its community fund. This offers support to local charities, schools, sports teams and events organisers, but was paused at the beginning of the pandemic. The current round of applications closes on 30 June. read more from Swindon Link here.

• The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust’s Visitor Centre in Swindon’s is about to re-open after an 18-month closure.

• A survey has been launched to plan the future of GWR Park on Faringdon Road.

Swindon Link reports that Swindon students are being invited to vie for cash prizes in a competition celebrating their talent.

Wiltshire Police calls on the public to help shape policing by joining its local Independent Advisory Group.

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Shrivenham Parish Council took place on 5 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Chiseldon Parish Council took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Wanborough Parish Council took place on 17 May and you can read the minutes here. You can also click here to see the presentation to the PC’s presentation to the annual parish assembly on 24 May.

• The most recent meeting of Watchfield Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 5 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Parish Council took place on 17 May and you can download the minutes here.

Click here to read the June edition of the Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Village News.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 20 May and you can download the minutes here.

Thursday 17 June 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 94 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 7-13 June, up 46 on the week before. This equates to 42 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 44 (30 the week before).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

• I mentioned about the threat to the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon last week (see below). The latest development is that residents of Swindon and beyond are being invited to gather outside the Oasis Leisure Centre at 2pm on Saturday 19 June 2021 in a rallying cry for the survival of the iconic dome and the particular facilities it offers. More details here.

• Meanwhile, the Advertiser reports that the troubled leisure centre will become a “fortress” with extra security measures being being added after urban explorers broke in and filmed the inside of the facility. “SevenCapital will,” the article continues, “be shuttering entrances to the North Star site after pressure from Swindon Borough Council and the Save Oasis Swindon group.” Perhaps I’ve been living a sheltered life or perhaps it’s because I no longer live in a city, but I wasn’t quite sure what an urban explorer was so thought I’d look it up. This is what Wikipedia has to say on the subject: “the exploration of manmade structures, usually abandoned ruins or hidden components of the manmade environment…urban exploration is also called draining (a specific form of urban exploration where storm drains or sewers are explored), urban spelunking, urban rock climbing, urban caving, building hacking or mousing.”

• For hidden history, unexpected glimpses and fascinating stories about Swindon without having to break into buildings or abseil down into deep-level sewers, have a prowl instead around the excellent Born-again Swindonian website which is just a click away.

Swindon Link reports that a new mural “to lift community spirits after a difficult year” has been installed at the front of Debenhams in Swindon town centre.

• The same source has announced that Revolution Performing Arts (RPA) is releasing a live-stream film featuring 30 acts of kindness.

• Swindon Bus Company has re-instated its community fund. This offers support to local charities, schools, sports teams and events organisers, but was paused at the beginning of the pandemic. The current round of applications closes on 30 June. read more from Swindon Link here.

• The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust’s Visitor Centre in Swindon’s is about to re-open after an 18-month closure.

• A survey has been launched to plan the future of GWR Park on Faringdon Road.

Swindon Link reports that Swindon students are being invited to vie for cash prizes in a competition celebrating their talent.

Wiltshire Police is calling on the public to help shape policing by joining its local Independent Advisory Group.

• The government has allocated £11.6 million for Swindon to fund a new road. Swindon Council claims that the new access road between Swindon and the planned New Eastern Villages development will provide faster journeys and enable the construction of 4,150 new homes.

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Shrivenham Parish Council took place on 5 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Chiseldon Parish Council took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Wanborough Parish Council took place on 26 April and you can read the minutes here. You can also click here to see the presentation to the PC’s presentation to the annual parish assembly on 24 May.

• The next Wanborough Farmers’ Market will take place on Saturday 19th June – more details here.

• The most recent meeting of Watchfield Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 5 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 17 May and you can download the minutes here.

Click here to read the June edition of the Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Village News.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 20 May and you can download the minutes here.

Thursday 10 June 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 48 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 31 May to 6 June, up 12 on the week before. This equates to 22 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 30 (17 the week before).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

• The Great British Spring Clean takes place between 28 May and 13 June and many events will be organised by local councils. Click on the relevant link below to see how you can get involved with what’s happening in your town or village.

• I mentioned about the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon last week (see below). I’ve just received a message from one of the campaigners which starts as follows: “People of Swindon, please come down to the front of the Oasis Leisure Centre on Saturday 19 June from 2pm, to protest to help save our treasured Oasis Leisure Centre complex. It would be great to have a fantastic turnout to show the Council and Seven Capital that the people of Swindon demand the Oasis is refurbished and reopened as soon as possible, NOT demolished and replaced. The people of Swindon will not accept the demolition of our famous landmark. It is a place that our children and families heavily used and enjoyed. We must all stand up if we want to preserve it for our future generations. This is the last chance to do so. So come on Swindon! We must save the Oasis NOW before it is too late and past the point of no return. It is part of Swindon’s heritage and identity.” For more information, please click here.

• For insights, unexpected glimpses and fascinating stories about Swindon, have a prowl around the excellent Born-again Swindonian website which is just a click away.

Swindon Link reports that Revolution Performing Arts (RPA) is releasing a live-stream film featuring 30 acts of kindness.

• The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust’s Visitor Centre in Swindon’s is about to re-open after an 18-month closure.

• A survey has been launched to plan the future of GWR Park on Faringdon Road.

Swindon Link reports that Swindon students are being invited to vie for cash prizes in a competition celebrating their talent.

Wiltshire Police is calling on the public to help shape policing by joining its local Independent Advisory Group.

• The government has allocated £11.6 million for Swindon to fund a new road. Swindon Council claims that the new access road between Swindon and the planned New Eastern Villages development will provide faster journeys and enable the construction of 4,150 new homes.

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Shrivenham Parish Council took place on 5 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Chiseldon Parish Council took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Wanborough Parish Council took place on 26 April and you can read the minutes here. You can also click here to see the presentation to the PC’s presentation to the annual parish assembly on 24 May.

• The most recent meeting of Watchfield Parish Council took place on 23 April and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 17 May and you can download the minutes here.

Click here to read the June edition of the Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Village News.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 20 May and you can download the minutes here.

Thursday 3 June 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 34 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 17-23 May, down three on the week before. This equates to 15 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 17 (13 the week before).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

• The Great British Spring Clean takes place between 28 May and 13 June and many events will be organised by local councils. Click on the relevant link below to see how you can get involved with what’s happening in your town or village.

• I mentioned about the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon last week (see below). One the campaigners fighting to save the iconic building told Penny Post on 3 June that “despite repeated calls for security and maintenance, the situation gets worse. In the last few days someone (unknown) has removed the generator. Today one of the campaigners went to visit and found the door to the plant room left wide open. Lead flashing has been taken from the roof, the pool was never drained properly so it now stinks in there…” It could be argued – indeed, I’m about to do so – that the interests of the developers or owners (who want to see the building re-developed, a move that other oppose) would seem to be well served by damage. This looks like a kind of determination by vandalism. One of the campaigners went further: “This is criminal negligence, dereliction of duty, abject failure all round. It’s simply appalling!”

• A survey has been launched to plan the future of GWR Park on Faringdon Road.

Swindon Link reports that Swindon students are being invited to vie for cash prizes in a competition celebrating their talent.

Wiltshire Police is calling on the public to help shape policing by joining its local Independent Advisory Group.

• The government has allocated £11.6 million for Swindon to fund a new road. Swindon Council claims that the new access road between Swindon and the planned New Eastern Villages development will provide faster journeys and enable the construction of 4,150 new homes.

• For insights, unexpected glimpses and fascinating stories about Swindon, have a prowl around the excellent Born-again Swindonian website which is just a click away.

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Shrivenham Parish Council took place on 5 May and you can download the minutes here. Matters covered included: the election of the Chairman and Vice Chairman; arrangements for council meetings until 21 May, which must now be held in person if decisions are to be taken; work on the new A420 roundabout to start on 24 May; councillors’ responsibilities; Sustainable Shrivenham; financial and year-end matters; planning applications; the community art project; tree planting in Coppidthorne Meadow; proposed improvements to Stocks Island; and speeding on Highworth Road.

• The most recent meeting of Chiseldon Parish Council took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: progress on the parish newsletter; the 2020 Parish Festival; drain clearance works; local footpaths; committee reports; risk assessments; and the lay-by at Windmill Piece.

• The most recent meeting of Wanborough Parish Council took place on 26 April and you can read the minutes here. You can also click here to see the presentation to the PC’s presentation to the annual parish assembly on 24 May.

• The most recent meeting of Watchfield Parish Council took place on 23 April and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 12 April and you can download the minutes here.

Click here to read the June edition of the Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Village News.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 20 May and you can download the minutes here.

Thursday 27 May 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 37 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 17-23 May, no change on the week before. This equates to 17 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 13 (13 the week before).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

• The Great British Spring Clean takes place between 28 May and 13 June and many events will be organised by local councils. Click on the relevant link below to see how you can get involved with what’s happening in your town or village.

• The Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon remains closed amid wrangles as to what the next step should be. The campaign group Save the Oasis has claimed that the building is capable of being repaired without being torn down and re-built and that Swindon Council has failed to keep its promises made in January to ensure that the leaseholders, Seven Capital, would refurbish the building and protect it from criminal damage. The developers maintain, as reported in the Advertiser, that “the 44-year-old structure would be too expensive to maintain in its current form” and that the steps taken to have it declared a listed building have already delayed, and could prevent, plans to re-generate the site. Angela Atkinson writing in Born Again Swindonian describes the proposals to demolish it as “vandalism” and quotes architect Robert Guy in explaining its architectural significance. It also, allegedly, was the inspiration for the name of Noel Gallagher’s band when he was a humble roadie on the UK tour circuit. Whether you think the tropical murals and a wonderwall or not, there will certainly be plenty of people looking back in anger if it’s demolished. The developers will argue that (definitely maybe) nothing lives forever. [That’s enough Oasis puns – Ed.]

• A survey has been launched to plan the future of GWR Park on Faringdon Road.

• The government has allocated £11.6 million for Swindon to fund a new road. Swindon Council claims that the new access road between Swindon and the planned New Eastern Villages development will provide faster journeys and enable the construction of 4,150 new homes.

• Work to construct the Wichelstowe Southern Access (WSA), a new underpass beneath the M4, has moved to stage four with all associated traffic management removed from the motorway.

• There have been a lot of reports of catalytic converters being stolen from cars because of their valuable metal content (and more reports coming in from all over the area).

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Shrivenham Parish Council took place on 5 May and you can download the minutes here. Matters covered included: the election of the Chairman and Vice Chairman; arrangements for council meetings until 21 May, which must now be held in person if decisions are to be taken; work on the new A420 roundabout to start on 24 May; councillors’ responsibilities; Sustainable Shrivenham; financial and year-end matters; planning applications; the community art project; tree planting in Coppidthorne Meadow; proposed improvements to Stocks Island; and speeding on Highworth Road.

• The most recent meeting of Chiseldon Parish Council took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: progress on the parish newsletter; the 2020 Parish Festival; drain clearance works; local footpaths; committee reports; risk assessments; and the lay-by at Windmill Piece.

• The most recent meeting of Wanborough Parish Council took place on 26 April and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Watchfield Parish Council took place on 23 April and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Parish Council took place on 12 April and you can download the minutes here.

Click here to read the May edition of the Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Village News.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council took place on 25 March and you can download the minutes here.

Thursday 20 May 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 36 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 10-16 May, up two on the week before. This equates to 16 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 13 (17 last week).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

• A survey has been launched to plan future of GWR Park on Faringdon Road.

• The government has allocated £11.6 million for Swindon to fund a new road. Swindon Council claims that the new access road between Swindon and the planned New Eastern Villages development will provide faster journeys and enable the construction of 4,150 new homes.

• The Swindon Advertiser reports that Wiltshire had the lowest crime rate in the country last year as the amount of reported offences dropped by 16.5%. However, data from the Office for National Statistics reveals a sharp increase in hate crime, domestic abuse, stalking and public-order offences.

• The Conservative Party has increased its majority to 15 seats on Swindon Council following the recent election.

• Swindon Borough Council is supporting Foster Care Fortnight (ends 23 May) in the hope of inspiring more people in the town to become foster carers.

• Work to construct the Wichelstowe Southern Access (WSA), a new underpass beneath the M4, has moved to stage four with all associated traffic management removed from the motorway.

• There have been a lot of reports of catalytic converters being stolen from cars because of their valuable metal content (and more reports coming in from all over the area).

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Chiseldon Parish Council took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: progress on the parish newsletter; the 2020 Parish Festival; drain clearance works; local footpaths; committee reports; risk assessments; and the lay-by at Windmill Piece.

• The most recent meeting of Wanborough Parish Council took place on 26 April and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council took place on 25 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Shrivenham Parish Council took place on 4 April and you can download the minutes here

• The most recent meeting of Watchfield Parish Council took place on 23 April and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Parish Council took place on 12 April and you can download the minutes here.

Click here to read the May edition of the Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Village News.

Thursday 13 May 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 37 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 3-9 May, down 27 on the week before. This equates to 17 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 17 (16 last week).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

• The Swindon Advertiser reports that Wiltshire had the lowest crime rate in the country last year as the amount of reported offences dropped by 16.5%. However, data from the Office for National Statistics reveals a sharp increase in hate crime, domestic abuse, stalking and public-order offences.

, The Advertiser also reports that the number of miles covered by cars in Swindon plummeted by more than a quarter last year as a result of lockdown.

• The Conservative Party has increased its majority to 15 seats on Swindon Council following the recent election.

• Swindon Borough Council is supporting Foster Care Fortnight in the hope of inspiring more people in the town to become foster carers.

• Work to construct the Wichelstowe Southern Access (WSA), a new underpass beneath the M4, will move to stage four next week with all associated traffic management to be removed from the motorway.

• There have been a lot of reports of catalytic converters being stolen from cars because of their valuable metal content.

• The Advertiser says that retirement community specialists McCarthy Stone has launched a search for local charities to support in Swindon.

• Lydiard House has benefitted from a £330,000 facelift by Swindon Council, with more work planned over the next four years – more here.

• Organisations in Swindon are being encouraged to apply for government funding which is available as part of the UK Community Renewal Fund (UK CRF)

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Chiseldon Parish Council took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: progress on the parish newsletter; the 2020 Parish Festival; drain clearance works; local footpaths; committee reports; risk assessments; and the lay-by at Windmill Piece.

• The most recent meeting of Wanborough Parish Council took place on 26 April and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council took place on 25 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Shrivenham Parish Council took place on 4 April and you can download the minutes here

• The most recent meeting of Watchfield Parish Council took place on 16 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Parish Council took place on 1 March and you can download the minutes here.

Click here to read the May edition of the Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Village News.

Thursday 6 May 2021

• Official news from councils in this area is currently thin as we are in a period of pre-election purdah (see here for more) until after the polling stations close on 6 May when there restrictions on what can be announced.

• The BBC reports that there were 63 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 26 April to 2 May, down 10 on the week before. This equates to 28 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 16 (18 last week).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

The Advertiser reports that the number of miles covered by cars in Swindon plummeted by more than a quarter last year as a result of lockdown.

• Concerned about human rights and gender equality? Soroptimist International is the largest women’s service organisation in the world and works with the UN to improve the lives of women and girls across the globe. The Swindon Soroptimist group supports women in their community and welcome new members.

• There have been a lot of reports of catalytic converters being stolen from cars because of their valuable metal content.

• A swindon man has been fined after fly-tipping rubbish in Shrivenham last year.

• The Advertiser says that retirement community specialists McCarthy Stone has launched a search for local charities to support in Swindon.

• Lydiard House has benefitted from a £330,000 facelift by Swindon Council, with more work planned over the next four years – more here.

• Organisations in Swindon are being encouraged to apply for government funding which is available as part of the UK Community Renewal Fund (UK CRF)

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council took place on 25 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Shrivenham Parish Council took place on 4 April and you can download the minutes here

• The most recent meeting of Watchfield Parish Council took place on 16 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Parish Council took place on 1 March and you can download the minutes here.

Click here to read the May edition of the Bishopstone and Hinton Parva Village News.

Thursday 29 April 2021

• Official news from councils in this area is currently thin as we are in a period of pre-election purdah (see here for more) until after the polling stations close on 6 May when there restrictions on what can be announced.

• The BBC reports that there were 73 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 19025 April, up 13 on the week before. This equates to 33 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 18 (18 last week).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

This story from the Advertiser describes what appears to be a stressful nine-year battle a Swindon resident has had with the developer of his home.

• Concerned about human rights and gender equality? Soroptimist International is the largest women’s service organisation in the world and works with the UN to improve the lives of women and girls across the globe. The Swindon Soroptimist group supports women in their community and welcome new members.

• There have been a lot of reports of catalytic converters being stolen from cars because of their valuable metal content. Nicking them from cars in a hospital car park seems particularly below the belt.

• A swindon man has been fined after fly-tipping rubbish in Shrivenham last year.

• The Advertiser says that retirement community specialists McCarthy Stone has launched a search for local charities to support in Swindon.

• Lydiard House has benefitted from a £330,000 facelift by Swindon Council, with more work planned over the next four years – more here.

• See here for more information on the progress of the improvements at junction 15 of the M4.

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council took place on 25 March and you can download the minutes here.

• the most recent meeting of Shrivenham Parish Council took place on 4 April and you can download the minutes here

Thursday 22 April 2021

• Official news from councils in this area is currently thin as we are in a period of pre-election purdah (see here for more) until after the polling stations close on 6 May when there restrictions on what can be announced.

• The BBC reports that there were 60 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 12-18 April, down three on the week before. This equates to 27 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 18 (20 last week).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

• A swindon man has been fined after fly-tipping rubbish in Shrivenham last year.

• The Advertiser says that retirement community specialists McCarthy Stone has launched a search for local charities to support in Swindon.

• The same paper reports that fears over “shoddy” plans could dash hopes for 120 houses, a play park and shop next to farmland along a busy main road near the Honda site.

• Lydiard House has benefitted from a £330,000 facelift by Swindon Council, with more work planned over the next four years – more here.

• See here for more information on the progress of the improvements at junction 15 of the M4.

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council took place on 25 March and you can download the minutes here.

• the most recent meeting of Shrivenham Parish Council took place on 4 March and you can download the minutes here.

Thursday 15 April 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 62 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 5-11 April, down 36 on the week before. This equates to 28 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 20 (24 last week).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

This story in the Advertiser says that Swindon Town FC’s owner Lee Power is “apparently” preparing to sell the club. The 1969 League Cup winners are currently 23rd in League One, four points from safety with five matches yet to play.

Swindon Link reports that architect Robert Guy, who has connections with Swindon dating back to the 1970s, has “thrown his full support behind” the application that the Oasis leisure centre (currently in need of some major TLC) be granted listed-building status by Historic England.

• The same source says that retirement community specialists McCarthy Stone has launched a search for local charities to support in Swindon.

• The same paper reports that fears over “shoddy” plans could dash hopes for 120 houses, a play park and shop next to farmland along a busy main road near the Honda site.

• Residents should look out for their poll card for information about where they can cast their vote ahead of the local elections on Thursday, 6 May.

• Lydiard House has benefitted from a £330,000 facelift by Swindon Council, with more work planned over the next four years – more here.

• See here for more information on the progress of the improvements at junction 15 of the M4.

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council took place on 25 March and you can download the minutes here. Matters covered included; disabled parking bays; the RWB Sculpture Project Team; the Climate and Environmental Emergency Working Group; committee reports; the mayoral election procedures; EV charging points; and the donations policy.

• The Advertiser reports one irate new resident of Royal Wooton Bassett as claiming that parking in the town is “more expensive than Cirencester, Bath, Oxford or Kensington,” four places which I imagine must take some beating in this league.

Thursday 8 April 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 99 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 29 March to 4 April, down 52 on the week before. This equates to 45 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 24 (39 last week).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

This strange story in the Advertiser comes under the headline “nightmare goes on for neighbours” and describes how a homeowner in Park South has put a caravan and a shipping container in her back garden due to problems with the house itself which, she claimed, was unsafe for her child. From her description of her circumstances, she seems to be the one more likely to be having nightmares. The photograph at the head of that article also shows a larger caravan parked a couple of houses down: if this has attracted the same level of opposition, the article doesn’t refer to it.

• The same paper reports that fears over “shoddy” plans could put paid to hopes for 120 houses, a play park and shop next to farmland along a busy main road near the Honda site.

• Swindon Council has extended the £500 Support Payment scheme to include parents and guardians of children required to self-isolate.

• Residents should look out for their poll card for information about where they can cast their vote ahead of the local elections on Thursday, 6 May.

• Lydiard House has benefitted from a £330,000 facelift by Swindon Council, with more work planned over the next four years – more here.

• See here for more information on the progress of the improvements at junction 15 of the M4.

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council took place on 25 March and you can download the minutes here. Matters covered included; disabled parking bays; the RWB Sculpture Project Team; the Climate and Environmental Emergency Working Group; committee reports; the mayoral election procedures; EV charging points; and the donations policy.

Thursday 1 April 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 151 CV-19 cases in Swindon in the week 22-28 March, down seven on the week before. This equates to 68 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 39 (49 last week).  See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests in Swindon.

Swindon Link reports that more than 600 community rail volunteers are poised to play a key role in South West’s post-Covid economic recovery. Such groups, the article explains, engage local people with their railways and stations, working with train operators, local authorities and other partners. Their activities include volunteering, community gardening, food growing and biodiversity projects at stations. There are community arts and heritage projects to help people learn about and take pride in their area.

• Swindon Council has extended the £500 Support Payment scheme to include parents and guardians of children required to self-isolate.

• Residents should look out for their poll card for information about where they can cast their vote ahead of the local elections on Thursday, 6 May.

• Lydiard House has benefitted from a £330,000 facelift by Swindon Council, with more work planned over the next four years – more here.

• See here for more information on the progress of the improvements at junction 15 of the M4.

• Click here for information from Swindon Council about how Coronavirus is affecting its services as well as other useful information.

• The most recent meeting of Royal Wooton Bassett Town Council took place on 25 March and you can download the minutes here. Matters covered included; disabled parking bays; the RWB Sculpture Project Team; the Climate and Environmental Emergency Working Group; committee reports; the mayoral election procedures; EV charging points; and the donations policy.

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