Should the whole of Swindon Borough be Parished? What will be the cost, because everyone’s Council Tax is likely to rise, even in Parished areas?
Various sound-bytes have been applied to this subject – ‘Delivering Localism’, ‘No alternative’, ‘It’s a stealth tax’, ‘Chickens have come home to roost’, ‘Local Democracy’ – all have been used, and all are incomplete at best and misleading at worst.
None of the above address the real issue which is that the proposal would set up a new layer of democratic management which will have to be funded, so it will inevitably come at a price. The question is, is that price likely to be worthwhile or justified?
Existing Parishes – over a dozen in the Borough – provide some services, and these may be extended. But does one size fit all? It is quite possible that with differing infrastructure and its varied age, as well as different population profiles in the various areas across the town, there will be winners and losers.
Here is a chance to find out more and pose questions. Better Swindon and councillor Des Moffatt are hosting a debate on Thursday 5 November, 7pm, in the Council chamber in Swindon Borough Council Civic Officers in Euclid Street. By sheer coincidence this day will mark the 510 year the Guy Fawkes and his henchman failed to blow up Parliament in the now much celebrated Gunpowder Plot.
Speakers include Des Moffatt and Des Morgan, both of whom have expressed doubts about the proposal to parish the town, and John Stooke, former chair of Haydon Wick Parish Council who has given eloquent expression to the benefits of parish councils.
It is a subject in which Better Swindon is keenly interested. Chairperson Chris Barry was a parish councillor and has seen the benefits; others may have differing views.
This is an issue that affects every citizen of Swindon, parished or not. Come along, listen to the arguments – and express your views!
Click on views on parishing already on Swindon Link by:
Des Morgan: Localism in extremis. Is parishing Swindon a good or bad thing?
Martin Wicks: Should Council Tax payers vote in a referendum to decide if Swindon is parished?