Whatever side of the EU issue you might be on – and I note that a clear majority of voters in Swindon were in favour of Leave – there’s no doubt that the result last week has huge implications for the country, writes Swindon Council leader Cllr David Renard.
In comparison, the council’s current engagement with you on proposals which might lead to new parish councils being created in the borough, as part of our Community Governance Review, is clearly not on the same scale.
Nonetheless, in local terms, it’s still a major issue with big implications. It could see many services traditionally provided by Swindon Borough Council being transferred to local parish councils, giving residents more direct democratic control over services such as street cleaning, bin emptying and grass cutting.
All councillors know from their day to day work that these issues really matter to people and generate a lot of enquiries. In some areas we’ve already transferred services to parishes, with successful results.
Not everywhere in Swindon has a parish council, however, a prime example being West Swindon, and some of the parish councils that exist at the moment have asked us to review their current arrangements. Hence the Community Governance Review.
We’re holding eight public meetings to help you understand the wider context in which the review is taking place, starting on 27 June. They are:
Monday 27th June – 7pm Park South Community Centre
Tuesday 28th June – 7pm Lawn Primary School
Wednesday 29th June -7pm Broadgreen Community Centre
Tuesday 5th July – 6pm West Swindon Library
Wednesday 6th July – 7pm Lethbridge School
Monday 11th July – 7pm Liden Library
Monday 18th July – 7pm Pinetrees Community Centre
Wednesday 20th July – 7pm Even Swindon Primary School
As you would expect there is also plenty of information on the council’s website at www.swindon.gov.uk/parishes, where you will also find two maps that illustrate how parish council boundaries might look in future.
The maps allow you to enter your postcode to see which Parish might cover the area where you live.
The engagement process we’re conducting with local communities will continue over the coming weeks, and everyone – not just residents but any interested parties – can give their comments by 20 July, either online, by letter or at one of the public meetings.
I’d urge you to take a look what the Community Governance Review is all about and let us have your views. It is important we have a good idea what people think before we progress to the next stage.
Car parking charges at Lydiard Park and Coate Water Country Park
On a completely separate note, there has been much comment and debate about the introduction of parking charges at two of our country parks, one of which is Lydiard. The money raised will go towards the upkeep of the park. The charges begin on Friday 1 July, and in preparation you should see the ticket machines being installed at these locations.
• See two maps illustrating possible parish boundaries at swindonlink.com
• Read more about the introducation of car parking charges at swindonlink.com