Robert's Weekly Article - 12th August 2020

This Saturday as we mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day it is important we remember all those who served in the Far East and ultimately brought an end to the Second World War.  The extraordinary exploits of the so-called “Forgotten Army” during the war in Burma deserve particular commemoration. 

The Royal British Legion has a full programme of activities available to shine a spotlight on the stories of British and Commonwealth Tri-Service Force, highlighting the often forgotten history of those who fought in the conflict and the atrocious and harrowing conditions in which they served and were held prisoner.

You can find the activity list via: www.rbl.org.uk/vjday75.

It is great news for South Swindon that we will directly benefit from £4 million of funding as part of the Government’s ‘Getting Building Fund’ to redevelop the Carriage Works. This funding builds on the Council’s commitment to finding sustainable uses for our town’s heritage.

The Great Western Works were at the heart of Victorian innovation here in Swindon, so to be able to use these great buildings as a base for up and coming local firms is something I’m sure Brunel himself would have approved of.

If you would like to find out more about this exciting project, visit: https://www.robertbuckland.co.uk/news/robert-buckland-mp-welcomes-major-government-getting-building-funding-south-swindon.

Earlier this week work began on the £17.5 million project to help alleviate traffic and congestion when approaching Junction 15 of the M4.  I campaigned to secure government funding for this project, which will help reduce rat running in our local area.  The programme of work, which will take around 12 months to complete, involves:

A dedicated left turn lane on the southbound A419 entry to the roundabout for eastbound traffic; the widening of the A419 southbound approach to the junction and the northbound exit from the junction; the widening of the A346 northbound entry; the widening of the M4 eastbound off-slip road; the widening of the junction’s southern circulatory road; and the proposed prohibition of vehicular access under the A419 bridge on Day House Lane and its conversion to a quiet route for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

In further good news, schools in South Swindon have been allocated a share of £560 million of government investment to expand classrooms, upgrade facilities and improve the education of children.

Investing in schools and education was a key promise made by the Conservatives during last year’s General Election and this funding will bring the total allocated to improve the condition of school buildings to £2 billion this year. It also paves the way for the new transformative ten-year school building programme starting later this year.

This major new investment will ensure that schools and colleges can focus on teaching, with brand new buildings and better facilities so that every child gets the world-class education they deserve.

I am sure that you have seen that in response to the rising rates of Covid-19 in Swindon we have been identified as an area of concern. I have been in contact with Public Health England and colleagues in the Department for Health & Social Care and in practice this means that targeted action is being taken to reduce the spread of the virus in our town. This includes for example, additional testing in care homes and increased community engagement with high-risk groups.

This is why the Council has begun delivering letters to approximately 2,000 households urging everybody to ensure they are following the government’s guidelines on social distancing. Public Health England have stressed that this not a local lockdown, but rather a series of targeted interventions to try and ensure the number of new confirmed cases does not continue to increase.