Annual Report 2013/2014

Background

1. Back Garden is a residents’ forum established under Swindon Borough Council’s (SBC) ‘Connecting People–Connecting Places’ initiative. Alongside Kingshill Area Residents Association (KARA) and Queen’s Park Community Council (QPCC), Back Garden is the third residents’ group in Eastcott Ward.

2. Back Garden was established in the summer of 2010 as a response to the lack of action over many of the issues affecting residents by the local Community Council. Since that group ceased operating in the autumn of 2011, Back Garden now works with all residents and official stakeholders in the area between Ashford Road and Victoria Road and Bath Road and Dixon Street.

3. Back Garden was established as a formal body in November 2011. Prior to this it operated as an informal group of activists supporting and encouraging residents to enhance the quality of life on the north side of Old Town Hill. Although the group is now formally constituted, its mission remain as they were in 2010:
(a)          to support and encourage residents to enhance the effectiveness of  the work of all stakeholders, and where appropriate, to act directly to improve the environment and quality of life.
(b)         Back Garden is a volunteer, non–political group that welcomes any individual or organisation that can assist it deliver its objectives.

4. This is the third report on Back Garden.

Activities since April 2013
The second AGM was held on 6 April at The Castle at 12 noon. The following Committee members were elected:
Chair                          Ashley Heath
Vice Chair                   Clare Kingston
Treasurer                     Stuart Hibbert
Secretary                      Ashley Heath
Committee Members    Peter Gallagher, Rob Tomkins, Peter Green

Ashley Heath resigned 3 February 2014

Clare Kingston resigned on 19 August 2013.

Following threatening Section 49 letters from SBC to some householders in Back Garden an open meeting with Philip Thomas was organised by Back Garden at The Castle pub on 28 August. As a result of the meeting SBC wrote and apologised to residents. The reason for the series of non-collections of waste and recycling by SBC over the same period was however not explained.

Back Garden residents supported by Chris Watts organised the collection of blue bags from Prospect Hill that had been left by SBC on the late August Bank Holliday.

Changes to SBC recycling, green waste and waste collections led to Back Garden organising an open meeting on Saturday morning 7 December at Savernake Halls. SBC’s Sue Mendham attended and as a result all houses on blue bag collections were left with no changes to waste or recycling. Back garden residents’ views matched those of others across Swindon and though the changes to Green recycling collections went ahead, there was a reduction in the fee for green bags.

Back Garden’s Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/groups/141597505852109/&gt; continues to provide a lively forum for the exchange of views and information for those living in the central part of Eastcott Ward. At the end of January 2014 it had 90 members.

Peter Green
Back Garden Committee Member
7 February 2014

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