Planned insights

I’ve been reading through the latest version of Swindon Borough Council’s Central Area Action Plan which is now out for consultation. It’s nice to see that, as hoped for, the Green Spine now has a bit more body to it, looking a little like a headless running stickman (though I think I detect a green football and a green sombrero in there too).

The plan includes some masterpieces of thoughtful insight. An observation on page 27 is the epitome of this erudition.

[Crime] hotspots remain and concerns about crime and anti-social behaviour are still evident in Central Swindon, and in particular in the Bridge Street and Fleet Street Area. In this area, the peak times for violent offences, is in the evenings and at weekends, which suggests a strong link with alcohol misuse.

Only suggests? Move on to page 65.

The dominance of drinking establishments in the Fleet Street area has by a large margin given rise to more crime in the area than at any other location in Swindon.

Aah… a little bit of realism at last. More seriously, this unclear thinking goes deeper than just presenting the obvious as thoughtful observations. When considering the not-so-obvious, some of the statements are, with a little thought, just plain wrong. Move on to page 94.

A significant proportion of these private rented properties are Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs). This high proportion of private rented accommodation is to a large extent a by-product of the exodus of families from Central Swindon.

To confuse ‘cause and effect’ with ‘supply and demand’ is a serious mistake in a document whose prime purpose is to regulate the supply of property over the next twenty years.