Continuing mission to improve Swindon and Swindon lives - Swindon Borough Council Leader Cllr Jim Robbins writes for the Link

By Swindon Link - 30 May 2024


I want to start with a huge thank you to the voters of Swindon, it is just as humbling to see the level of support that we got from residents in this year’s local elections as it was last year when we took control of the council after 20 years.

I also need to thank the Labour Group councillors for re-electing me and my deputy, Cllr Emma Bushell, to be the Leader and Deputy Leader of the council again.

Whilst we were hoping for a decent showing at the elections, the idea that we could gain nine seats far exceeded our expectations after a year running the council and taking over in such tricky circumstances. With challenges such as having to take £24m out of the budget due to Government cuts and dealing with the implementation of the new bins and recycling service which we all know didn’t go smoothly, we would have been happy to hold onto the seats that we held going into the election.

To win those nine seats and take us to over 40 councillors on the council is unbelievable, and we will do all we can to repay the amazing trust shown in us by residents by relentlessly focusing on delivering on the promises that we made.

The five pledges that we made were to:

Make real progress on the Town Centre – Devise a bold regeneration plan for the town centre.  Push property owners to introduce temporary uses to tackle empty shops in advance of redevelopment. 


Support Young people - open new youth facilities and set up a council-run community engagement group to reduce knife crime and serious youth violence in the town.


Improve our Roads - lobby the Government for additional funds for pothole repair and additional powers to manage roadworks better.


Get the Oasis re-opened - finalise the deal with the developer and explore options for a new performance venue for the town.


Tackle the Housing crisis - increase the number of council houses in the town and support everyone to have a safe and secure home. 


We’ll report back to people over the next two years on how we get on with these promises.

We will also be bringing the new Swindon Plan to the people over the next month. We will launch the plan at the first Cabinet meeting of the municipal year and make it very clear what the deliverables that people can expect to see are and our progress on getting the plan implemented.

The Swindon Plan really gets to grips with the missions that we set ourselves last year to build a better Swindon, build a greener Swindon and build a fairer Swindon. I’m really looking forward to showing the updated Plan to residents, and especially demonstrating how we have listened to the feedback that we have got from residents over the year. 

It is great that residents' engagement has really shaped the plan and improved it, and we are determined to keep that strong engagement with residents going!

The first big opportunity will be with our plan for the town centre once we bring it forward. 

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