Monthly Archives: January 2011

Police drop in meetings

Our local Community Support Officer will be available to meet residents on these streets, on these dates and times.

Edmund Street, 15.30 hrs, Saturday, 12 February
Cross Street, 16.00 hrs, Wednesday 2 March
Western Street, 18.30 hrs, Wednesday, 16 March


Official Meeting a success

The meet the Officials meeting on Monday evening in the Beehive on Prospect Hill was a success. Back Garden now hopes to arrange a further meeting in May or June at another pub in the area.

The issues that emerged as worrying residents were:

  • lack of progress over the College site redevelopment
  • parking, traffic and double yellow lines
  • opportunities for energy saving initiatives

Thanks to everyone from the Police, Fire Brigade, Councillors and Borough Officials, who turned up and got stuck into the discussions.

Back Garden interviews Chris Watts – Labour Candidate for Eastcott Ward

1. What is your connection with Eastcott Ward?
I live in Eastcott Ward and have done so for 14 years with my wife and three children.

2. What makes Eastcott important for you?
As a father of three, it is of the utmost importance that I can be sure that my children are brought up in a safe environment. Eastcott has a strong community spirit of which I am proud to be a part of.

3. Tell us a little about yourself, your interests and your skills.
I have worked in IT for 23 years, for small business start-ups, corporate companies and presently as a self employed consultant of 10 years. I am a keen runner, although my creaking bones are starting to protest. I am a representative and webmaster of KARA (Kingshill Area Residents’ Association) and the vice chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (Swindon Branch).

4. Why do you want to be a Councillor?
I became actively involved in local politics through concern over the Wi-Fi issue and now believe I can make a significant personal contribution by representing my community on the council.

5. Why are you a Labour Party member rather than any other?
I have a strong belief in the Welfare State and employment rights. I feel that it is only the Labour Party that can best protect these ideals that are the corner stones of our society.

6. How does being a Labour party member help the residents of Eastcott?
Swindon Labour Party has a diverse council group with years of collective experience. By being wholly represented by a minority group in the Lib Dems, Eastcott Ward is currently at a disadvantage, as it does not call on this collective experience. An example of this inexperience can be highlighted by the apparent loss of development monies that should have been used to improve Eastcott Ward infrastructure for the residents.

7. If you are elected do you expect to cooperate with the other parties to help the Ward?
Through my position as Vice Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (Swindon Branch), I have worked with both Swindon MPs and have a worked in unison on several issues with the Conservative member for South Swindon. I have learned through this experience that there is more that the parties agree on than disagree on. This common ground must be nurtured and the ‘One Swindon’ initiative is a prime example of where all parties must work in unison for the good of the Ward and the Borough.

8. What are the biggest issues that you see affecting the Ward?
The local issues affecting the ward that have been brought to my attention include residential parking problems with capacity, cost and implementation. Central Ward has been looking into community run residential parking for some time, lead by Cllr Bob Wright (Lab) who has approached local Lib Dems to work with the Labour Group through the cluster. The idea is for a scheme for residents, controlled by residents. Residential parking has to stay true to its not-for-profit ideals.

Ward members are also concerned about:

  • The recent removal of the requirement for planning consent in converting a house into one of multiple occupancy.
  • Pollution and noise from the Stagecoach depot of Eastcott Road
  • Road safety issues on Kingshill Road for which I have started

9. What are your views of the Connecting People- Connecting Places initiative and the Big Society?
It is imperative for all that the ‘One Swindon’ initiative is successful. I was glad to witness at Full Council all Parties and Directors of local service providers sign up to this vision. It has a long way to go and will not be easy, but with cross party co-operation and hard work from all parties we could achieve something for the town to be proud of. I have very much enjoyed being a representative of KARA (Kingshill Area Residents’ Association) and have seen what can be achieved at the grass roots by a strong, well supported community group. If I was to be successful in the election, I would, with regret, stand down from my position as a representative of KARA, as I do not believe that sitting Councillors should be on the committee of residents’ associations. I would however maintain close links with all residents’ associations within the ward.

10. In three years time what do hope to have achieved?
My primary objective will be to have served the residents of Eastcott well and to ensure that we receive full and proper representation within the Council. A prosperous Eastcott Ward depends on a prosperous Borough and we need to be at the centre of the regeneration of Swindon. I would hope to see ‘One Swindon’ on the road to success and regeneration well and truly underway. I will continue to strive for this as a councillor or as a member of the public, as I have done in the past.

Thank you Chris

Labour candidate announced for Eastcott

Chris Watts, a Swindon-born self-employed IT consultant, has been selected by the Eastcott Labour Party to stand in the 2011 elections.

More information at Swindon Labour Party

‘Meet the Officials’

On Monday 17 January from 6.30pm till 9 pm representatives of the Police, Swindon Borough Council and Ward Councillors will be in the bottom bar of the Beehive Pub for informal discussions over issues that affect the Back Garden.

Attending will be:
Wiltshire Police
Mike Diffin, Police Constable
Alexandra Packford, Community Support Officer

Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service
Graham Weller, Swindon Partnership Manager

Dave Wood, Eastcott Ward Councillor

Swindon Borough Council
Mark Walker, Policy & Regeneration Manager & Town Centre Cluster Lead
David Dewart, Planning
Samantha Howell, Principal Transport Planner
Richard Fisher, Head of Wastes Management
Bob Sanders, Traffic Management

If the evening is a success we hope to hold further meetings in other locals in the Back Garden.

‘Official Night’ 17 January, The Beehive

Come and meet the Council and Police officials who cover the Back Garden, on Monday 17 January from 18.30-21.00 in the Beehive.

This will be an informal evening with opportunities for one-to-one discussions as well as a simple chance to meet other residents and officials.

Details will follow, but if this is a success we hope to run similar events in other local pubs.