Back Garden Roads Meeting with Council Officials – 12 September 2015

Back Garden Roads Meeting with Council Officials – 12 September 2015

Note of meeting

Present and sources of topics discussed

1. Mark Walker, Localities Lead, Swindon Borough Council (SBC) along with colleagues from SBC Highways and Parking Enforcement met residents and answered questions from them and submitted by email. The agenda was compiled from residents emails.

2. Also present were Robert Buckland MP and Eastcott Ward Councillors Stan Pajak and Paul Dixon, and Berens Cross Swindon Advertiser. Apologies were received from six residents, Steve Bizely (Regent Circus Manager) and Dave Wood (Eastcott Councillor).

Deliveries to Regent Circus

3. The problems caused by deliveries to premises in Regent Circus via Edmund Street was described. In particular that the Police had to close roads for two hours to extricate a vehicle last month.

4. SBC confirmed that deliveries should go to the Byron Street loading bay and that there should be no deliveries before 07.00. Back Garden pressed for action on new signs on Victoria Hill and Edmund Street. Back Garden confirmed that ‘new’ in this context meant the erection of appropriate signs covered by the Highways Acts. SBC believed that we were asking for new ad-hoc signs.

Action: SBC and Back Garden have spoken to Steve Bizley at Regenmt Circus

Action: SBC are undertaking a review of all signage in the Town Centre
and will add this request to it.

Large vehicles in Central Eastcott

5. Not all the large vehicles problems originate as deliveries to Regent Circus. Few either are delivering to Eastcott. The common explanation from drivers is that they are using the area as a through route. The small advisory signs erected six years ago at the entrance to the Prospect area have not reduced the problem. Drivers tell residents that they haven’t seen any signs.

6. Back Garden asked for signs to be installed that match those on the entrance to Morse Street off Commercial Road. These are prohibition signs limiting access to 7.5 tons unless for access. SBC were not able to give any assurance on this.

Action: Back Garden will press Councillors and
if necessary their MP for these signs to be installed

Non-observance of one way streets

7. The regular use of Swindon Road, Rolleston Street and the bottom of Prospect Hill by vehicles travelling in the wrong direction was discussed. A Police enforcement exercise on a Friday between 16.00 and 20.00 was suggested. New road signs were requested. SBC were unwilling to place a ‘No entry’ statement on the road surface at the bottom of Edmund Street or at the Cross Street/Propsect Hill junction. They were willing to consider prohibition ‘No entry’ signs at the latter junction.

Action: Back Garden will press Councillors and if necessary their MP
for all requested road surface and road signs to be installed.


8. The speeding problem was accepted by SBC. Back Garden asked that all streets in the Town Centre become 20 mph zones.

Swindon Road-Cross Street rat run

9. Back Garden asked that SBC reconsider the decision take at the time of the Parking Review to leave the Swindon Road-Cross Street system as it was. This route is used by vehicles to avoid Old Town Centre and Regent Circus. Making Swindon Road one-way westbound would stop this and reduce the large vehicle incursions.

Action: SBC agreed to consider.

Appropriate parking on pavements

10. The combination of narrow streets and through vehicles is the primary cause of damage to vehicles (the cars of two residents present had been written off by through vehicles). Back Garden suggested that appropriate on pavement parking schemes as adopted in Oxford and Greater London, be applied in Central Eastcott. This would allow cars to be parked no more than a foot on pavements where the remaining space allowed access for child buggies, etc.

Action: SBC agreed to consider.

Inappropriate parking on pavements

11. The growth of parking completely on pavements was described by Back Garden. SBC agreed that they could enforce in such cases and asked that residents report incidents to 01793 445501.

Action: Back Garden will distribute this info asap.

Regent Circus and disabled users

12. There was a long and detailed discussion of the problems reported to Back Garden and the use of the shared space by people with disabilities. SBC continue to believe that all comments by all interested bodies including the disabled were taken into account when the plans were drawn up 10 years ago. Back Garden believes this to be irrelevant and that the continued complaints from the disabled should be addressed.

13. The patchwork quilt of 20 mph limits in the Town Centre contributes to problems in the shared space. Urgent action over the Commercial Road racetrack that leads to the shared space is required. As is the bottom of Crombey Street/Eastcott Hill where the speed of vehicles accelerating after the shared space makes exiting Edmund Street dangerous.

Action: Back Garden will press Councillors and if necessary their MP
for extension to the 20 mph limit.

Contact with SBC

14. Concerns over the failure of SBC’s helpline for roads ‘Street Smart’ to deliver any kind of service were expressed. SBC were surprised believing that the scripts that Street Smart phone operators used were adequate. SBC offered alternative numbers if the 01793 445501 number failed to deliver.

Action: Back Garden will distribute alternative numbers when provided by SBC.


15. Back Garden asked for appropriate consultation by SBC with residents. The Parking Review process was given as a good example, with several public meetings and the request for input from residents before a scheme was produced. Regent Circus was an example of the wrong way to do it.

16. Many of the problems raised could have been eliminated or reduced if SBC took an overview of issues, rather than making changes piecemeal.

Peter Green
Back Garden

Circulated to Councillors, Mark Walker SBC Localities Lead, Robert Buckland MP, and social media.


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