Arthur Rowley writes:
Swindon Borough Council will be holding a meeting at the Lawn Community Centre on the evening of Tuesday 27 September as part of their so called Community Governance Review to parish the parts of the town not already in a parish council.
Previous meetings have demonstrated an astounding lack of interest by the very people the proposed changes will affect most, i.e. council tax payers. More awareness of the steady and irreversible progress of this ill-founded scheme ought to be made clear to the public now.
A small group from the Dorchester Road area hope to do that at the September meeting. Our critical, but positive, activity at this meeting might go some way to dispel this appalling apathy.
We need to involve, without further delay, the very people who will bleat loudest when they find an extra £10 or £12 on their monthly council tax bill in two years time but have not been aware of anything happening, or have dismissed becoming involved as ‘nothing to do with me.’
It is to do with you. The meeting on 27 September takes place at 6.30pm in Lawn Community Centre.
See the list of meetings in other parts of Swindon below.
More about the formal consultation during September:
From Monday 5 September every household in the town will receive details of a consultation which asks residents for their views on proposals to create four new parishes in areas of Swindon not already in a parish council, and on changes to existing parish council boundaries.
The eight-page leaflet will be delivered to 91,000 homes across the Borough by Royal Mail over a two week period at a cost of £85,000 or 9p per household. It includes details of the council’s plan with two maps showing existing and proposed parish boundaries.
Residents can also find information on the council’s website The online information features an interactive map where current and proposed parish boundaries can be viewed at street level, and a postcode search facility to show which parish area properties currently sit in, and where they might sit in future.
Five public meetings will be held during September where councillors and council officers will be available to answer questions. The parishing proposals are being made because in future the Borough Council will no longer fund some local services such as grass cutting and street cleaning.
Instead, existing parish councils, and any new ones created, will need to decide with their local communities how these services are provided. At present, 41 per cent of Swindon households are within one of 16 parished areas. In these areas parish councils, also known as town or community councils, already provide a variety of important local services which may include allotments, leisure facilities, bin emptying, parks and open spaces, and grounds maintenance.
The current consultation is the third stage of a Community Governance Review process, and follows feedback received from previous stages carried out earlier this year which gathered views from residents, community organisations and existing parishes. It ends on Friday 30 September, after which the Council will consider the feedback and agree the final recommendations in November.
Consultation information will also be available in four libraries: The Central Library, North Swindon Library, West Swindon Library, and Park Library. Click for the online version
Venues and times for the five public meetings in September:
Broadgreen Community Centre, Tuesday 20th September, between 6 – 7pm;
West Swindon Library, Wednesday 21st September, between 6 – 7pm;
Pinetrees Community Centre, Monday 26th September, between 6 – 7pm;
Lawn Community Centre, Tuesday 27th September, between 6.30pm and 7.30pm;
Eldene Community Centre, Wednesday 28th September, between 6 – 7pm.
Below, a map showing the new and modified parishes (created by Swindon Link from council sources)