The £25m investment for Swindon announced this week by my Cabinet colleague, Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick, is hugely welcome news. I worked hard within Government for the much-needed cash to be allocated to our town, and it’s a fantastic development we can all be proud of. I am looking forward to working closely with Swindon Borough Council, local businesses and fellow residents on the exciting and transformative projects this funding can support.
I will continue to make our town’s case to my colleagues in Government at every suitable opportunity.
If you follow any of my social media accounts (something which I hope everybody does) you will have seen that I had the honour to attend the official opening of the Swindon Women’s Aid charity shop within The Parade. This excellent local charity provides a year-round domestic abuse service for residents living here in Swindon. In doing so, they provide expert support to those living within our community who need help exiting abusive relationships safely and offer emergency refuge to those individuals who need to flee their homes due to violence and abuse. Swindon Women’s Aid also offer a telephone helpline on 01793 610610 which is answered by specialist domestic abuse service staff. As well as celebrating this important event, I was pleased to take the microphone and sing Danny Boy outside the shop, a clip of which is doing the rounds on Twitter - do check it out.
On Saturday, I also had the opportunity to attend the launch of the Volunteer Centre Swindon’s 20th Anniversary Pop Up Shop. This group helps local people find the right volunteering opportunity for them and provide good practice advice to organisation which involve volunteers. If you would like more information about the many volunteering opportunities here in our community, please visit www.swnidonvolunteers.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In further local news, over the years many of you have been in touch with me about the state of Cavendish Square and I have supported residents who have raised concerns about issues such as poor maintenance by the owner, on drainage, fencing and lighting. These issues have led to flooding and safety problems, and it is clear that the owner has failed in their responsibilities to the Square, and to local residents.
As I outlined in a letter to residents living near the Square, I was pleased make the case to the Leader of the Council that Swindon Borough Council should buy Cavendish Square, address the maintenance issues and invest in its future.
The Council have agreed with the proposal to buy the public areas of the Square, and that the Borough Council’s aim is to purchase these within the next six months. It is encouraging that the Council is already preparing to deal with the drainage issues. IT will take time to complete the negotiations to buy the areas of Cavendish Square which are in private ownership, and I will continue to work closely with the Council so that all of the areas that residents are concerned about are included. I will make sure the Council keeps the promise they have made to me, and local residents.