As we see more signs of spring, it is a good time for me to reflect on the progress the Council and our partners have made towards achieving the Vision, our plan to transform Swindon by 2030.
Our first priority contains our pledges to support a growing, low-carbon economy. We are commissioning new solar farms and many residents have already invested in the scheme at Common Farm.
Please go to https://www.abundanceinvestment.com/swindon for more details about how you, too, can take part.
The Council’s second priority is about how to continue providing school places so that children have a range of good schools and colleges to attend. At the Cabinet meeting on 16th March, we considered a report showing five different organisations bidding for government money to provide new primary Free Schools across the Borough.
I am particularly pleased to see that we have two specialist bids – one to support children with autism and the other to provide a therapeutic and vocational alternative to mainstream education. These will provide all our children the access to education they need to allow them to be independent, successful adults.
All of us benefit from living and working in clean, safe environments and the Vision’s third pledge sets out a number of steps we wish to take to achieve this. We have now adopted a Public Spaces Protection Order – a PSPO – in the town centre that will give our enforcement officers, Police and Community Support Officers, and the police more powers to crack down on enviro-crimes.
Many residents speak to me about how these crimes, which may not appear to be serious but which bring down an area’s reputation. By prosecuting the offences under the PSPO we are making a clear statement about the safe, clean, accessible town centre we all want to enjoy
On a slightly different note, as part of looking after our neighbourhoods can I remind gardeners it’s the time to make sure you have renewed or applied your subscription to the green waste collection service. You can find details on the “Subscribe for green garden waste collections” page on the Council’s website.
Alongside these priorities the Council’s core business remains, which we encompass in our fourth priority – providing personal social care to young and elderly residents as well as supporting public health programmes. These account for £69 of every £100 Council Tax you pay. We remain committed to protecting the most vulnerable residents of our community.
This will be last column as we now enter the election period. It just remains for me to wish everyone a Happy Easter.