Swindon Council leader warns public 'Don't go back to the future' ahead of May elections

By Swindon Link - 21 February 2023

  • Swindon Council Leader David Renard

    Swindon Council Leader David Renard

A column by Swindon Borough Council Leader David Renard.

Twenty years ago Labour-run Swindon Council was rated one of the worst councils in the country, Council Tax increased by 45 percent in three years, children were educated in schools with leaky roofs, the elderly were in care homes deemed unfit by the regulator, there was no town centre regeneration or plan for our heritage, the Central Library had been in portable cabins for decades and the list of shame goes on. 

Today, under successive Conservative administrations, there is extensive town centre regeneration with investment in our heritage and an award-winning Central Library. 

We have ‘fit for purpose’ schools and care homes, council services such as Children’s Services and the Youth Justice Service are judged good and outstanding, all with council tax increases kept on or below inflation year after year.

In 2015, we published the 2030 Vision, Priorities and Pledges so that local residents see what we delivered against what we said. 

Educational opportunities have been expanded with the Institute of Technology, University Technical College and various higher education courses, giving our young people the skills they need to succeed.

Millions of pounds of public sector funds [Anchor]  have been invested in our roads and other infrastructure. As a Conservative administration, we have had great success with securing Government funding for Swindon to help provide critical ‘up front’ infrastructure. 

This has guaranteed that Swindon’s road network is future proofed against additional demand arising from new strategic developments wherever they may be.

The building of thousands of new homes including new council housing will see our children and grandchildren housed whilst also making a direct contribution to our national economic recovery and further enhancing our ability here in Swindon to attract new businesses. 

As a direct result of our engagement with investors, we have seen millions of pounds of private sector investment in employment sites and new jobs. In addition to the £400m investment and 2000 jobs at Symmetry Park, we have worked closely with Panattoni on the redevelopment of the former Honda site.

This regeneration will see a massive boost in jobs and an unprecedented £1.2bn boost to the Swindon economy, benefiting all of us. We continue to work with existing and new employers to ensure that Swindon has the investment and jobs growth that make us an economic powerhouse on the M4 corridor. 

Climate change is being tackled with schemes such as the LED lights roll-out saving thousands in energy bills. Super-fast broadband is now available to nearly all households in the borough. 54,000 trees have been planted in the last two years to protect our environment. Investment is taking place in our country parks to improve the quality and the new Moredon Sports Hub development is starting soon.

The list goes on with more to come and much in the planning phase. 

The reliability of waste services is rated higher than ever before. The impending roll-out of our food waste collection will also help us with our plan to address the climate emergency. 

There are challenges ahead and more to {come} but but all these advances have been hard-won. A Conservative-run council will continue to deliver what the borough needs in a fiscally responsible manner. In the forthcoming local elections, it is vital that Labour is not given the opportunity to run the council and take us back to the future.


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