A lesson in doing nothing

A year ago, I suggested that, with some town centre sites that had already been demolished being amongst last scheduled for redevelopment, it would be good if they could be put to some use, rather than just surrounded with hoardings.

Some of the parts that have been demolished are, in the grand plan, the last that will be redeveloped, the old police station for example. As these sites would, even without the economic problems, be vacant for several years, you’d think something better could be done with them than just put hoardings round them. Just grassing them over to give a bit of green space for a while would be a big improvement.

The councillor with responsibility for such things at the time, Mr Young, agreed and said the process had already started.

Couldn’t agree more Komadori (sic). I have actually already kicked off a conversation to see if this can happen – either used to add additional parking to make it easier for people to get in to the Town, particularly during the construction phases when access may be more challenging and we need to do all we can to support the traders, or as green spaces for the interim.

I raised the issue again with the New Swindon Company in December, and was told that they were in discussion with Swindon Borough Council on some sites they could guarantee would be vacant for three years, with the intention that they could be used as a mini adventure park for children.

After over a year of talking, you’d think there might now be some action on this. By action I mean some construction, not yet more talking as proposed by Mr Martin.

The fact is that a lot of this land is going to be sitting there doing nothing for a number of years to come, so why not do something with it.

And it’s taken you a year to notice that?

At the moment we are working with the New Swindon Company to negotiate with landowners, in the areas where we don’t own the land, to get an agreement in principle.

As Mr Young said he had got things started a year ago, just how much discussion does it need?

We will then be putting it forward for consultation. We want to hear what ideas people have.

Fine, but why wait until now when this has been given consideration for over a year already?

I really hope to get it initiated this year. First we have to look at consultation with the owners, then with the public. We are probably looking at some time in the autumn for that.

Initiated this year? That be political spin for no action until next year.

With the economic recession already slowing Swindon town centre’s regeneration to a snail’s pace, this dithering by Swindon Borough Council beggars belief. With only £140,000 for the scheme, they could well spend more money on talking than on actually doing anything.