Swindon Borough Council leader David Renard writes:
Over the past few weeks, I have been talking a lot about the Cabinet’s draft budget. We are ready to make the tough choices for 2016/17 and by the time Council considers the final draft at the end of February, three months will have passed for people to consider what the Administration’s proposals are. Sadly, no alternative has been put forward for consideration.
Although the budget pressures are difficult, I am not going to let them divert the Council from the Vision we adopted last September. The key element of the Vision, Priorities, and Pledges is that we seek to support local economic development. Only by creating wealth can we generate the income to pay for the public services we would like.
As part of this over the next three months, we will be undertaking a major survey of residents and businesses to plan where new shops, restaurants, industrial sites and offices need to be located over the next 20 years.
We will be using a market research company to contact one thousand residents by telephone between January and March. The survey should take no longer than 15 minutes and will cover where you go shopping, either within Swindon or elsewhere, and where you spend your leisure time, such as restaurants or cinemas. If you are called, we would be grateful if you could spare the time to respond.
We will be contacting businesses across the Borough separately to find out their plans for the future and how the Council could help them meet their aims. Business organisations and networking groups will be asked to give views on behalf of their member organisations.
The findings will be used to help us develop Swindon’s next Local Plan, which will guide development across the Borough until 2036. Swindon has recently had its Local Plan to 2026 approved by the Planning Inspectorate, but we want to plan in the longer term so we can accommodate future growth to meet best the future needs of residents and businesses.
My Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Communities, councillor Toby Elliott, will be overseeing the development of this plan. I know that it will help us achieve two of our pledges: to support a growing low carbon economy and to provide the right jobs in the right places.