End of June update

The Regent Circus development was a huge step forward for Swindon’s regeneration. Not only has the site spawned great new restaurants, a cinema, and a supermarket to the centre since it opened its doors last August, it has created jobs for local residents and continued to attract investment to our town. As a local MP, I am thrilled with the success of the development and I look forward to the next regeneration stages in the coming years.

There are, however, residents and local businesses near to the old college site that have been adversely affected as a result of work carried out at the site. After the election, I was contacted by a number of my constituents who said that their properties had been damaged during the site’s construction or that they were unable to access their property due to works carried out by the developers, ISG.

I convened a public meeting to help steer a way through, but I became increasingly concerned that there was a lack of action. Last Friday, I chaired a further meeting with representatives from ISG and local councillors, as well as those who had been affected. A set of actions was agreed. By bringing the developers directly to the table, I hope that progress can finally be made to rectify any damage caused, and I will carry on doing all that I can as local MP to ensure that this happens.

I’ve also been contacted by a number of residents who are concerned about the parking situation at the Great Western Hospital, which has been an ongoing issue for residents, visitors, and staff. I have recently spoken personally to the Chief Executive of the Great West Hospital who has confirmed that there are now plans in place to add 400 more parking spaces to the hospital staff car park. Whilst the construction date is not yet confirmed, I can assure you that the appropriate funds have been put aside for this expansion, which will alleviate pressure for visitors and patients using the public car parking facilities.

Turning to West Swindon, I would like to thank Gwyneth Dilly and the staff who helped to organise West Swindon Library’s 30th anniversary celebrations last weekend.  It was a pleasure to be a part of the events that day, which included a craft workshop, fancy dress story time, and a quiz. The library delivers an excellent service to local residents, and I hope that this will continue for many more years to come. I am very glad that the library will stay in its well-established location within the Link Centre.

It was a tremendous honour to serve as patron for Armed Forces Day at Faringdon Park last Saturday, and I was delighted that the weather held for what turned out to be a fantastic day. I believe that Armed Forces Day is one of the most important in Swindon’s calendar, because it’s a reminder of how much they do to keep us safe. Our armed forces are the true peace makers, and I was glad to help re-inforce this powerful message. Swindon has such a strong military tradition we should rightly be among the best in respecting that. I hope the day will go from strength to strength in the future.

All thoughts have been trained upon the atrocities in Tunisia. The House of Commons held a minute’s silence for the victims on Monday. I have spoken to Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood MP has gone go Tunisia with the Home Secretary; he is working very hard and contacting families affected. He is well placed to do this, having dealt with the aftermath on behalf of his family after his brother was killed by the bombings in Bali in 2002. There will be a national minute of silence for the victims this Friday at noon, and I hope that all of us can show solidarity with their families by respecting this.

(This article was originally posted in the Swindon Advertiser on Wednesday 1st July 2015)