East Wichel — in search of ghosts

Last night in their Inside Out programme the BBC presented a report on Wichelstowe. The report was introduced by Alastair McKee as “The Homeowners who say they’re living in what amounts to a ghost town’, yet the reality is very different.

The BBC have interviewed many people in East Wichel over recent weeks — komadori was one of them. The views expressed by many in those interviews were that it’s a very nice place to live. The community spirit is great and there’s quite a bit going on. It would be nice if there were some more facilities open in the development — such as some shops and a children”s play area — but given how slow the housing market is, it’s no surprise things are taking longer than originally planned. Some of the first that were housed in the area by Sovereign Living feel let down as things haven’t turned out as planned, but most that have moved in since knew it was going to be quite some time before facilities would be available. In short, it’s nice, it could be better, but for most there haven’t been any surprises.

Watch Mr McKee’s report and the impression you’ll get is distinctly grimmer. No mention of community spirit, only of ‘out reach’, despite filming community events. Little mention of what people expected before they moved here, only of what more they would want. Only five interviews were used of the many that were done, and many whose interviews were left out have said their comments were more positive than those used in the report. Even the interviewee in the most critical interview shown in the report has said her interview was edited to leave out the good things she had to say about the community. And where are “The Homeowners who say they’re living in what amounts to a ghost town’? Despite Alastair McKee’s introduction, none of the interviews in the report express that opinion. Fast forward through the programme to leave out Mr McKee’s distortions and listen only to the interviews, and the impression you’ll get is of a far more contented community than the report portrays. Yes, what may one day be West and Middle Wichel look rather forlorn, with roads in place years before they will carry traffic, but the East Wichel community is coming along quite contentedly thank you, albeit rather slower than most living here would have liked.

No doubt to many that watched the programme, Mr Greenhalgh’s defence of Swindon Borough Council will seem rather aggressive. To me as someone aware of the background of the report, he was giving a biased reporter everything he deserved.

East Wichel canalside