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Oasis Leisure centre closure

Devastating news for staff and #swindon about Better (GLL) giving notice to close Oasis Leisure Centre Swindon after significant losses due to covid. The landlord must find an alternative operator at the earliest opportunity, despite these difficult pandemic times.

All other Better (GLL) leisure centres are run directly for Swindon Borough Council and that should not be confused or combined with #oasis, which is separate. Last month, Swindon Conservative Councillors cabinet approved more than £400k of capital improvements to Dorcan, Haydonwick and Croft centres.

Oasis Leisure Centre closing permanently | Swindon Advertiser


Is 20 plenty?

On Thurs 19 Nov we will be debating a draft motion on 20mph speed limits.

It is also Road Safety week so a topical subject.

Please do share your views.

Is 20 plenty?

Would you like to see your residential road have a 20mph limit?

If anyone would like to contact me directly on this subject or any other please do email me vmanro2@swindon.gov.uk


Lavinia Walk Taw Hill footpath remedial works to finally begin

More Roadworks (well Footpath works this time), but very good news for Lavinia Walk (Taw Hill) residents.

For some years now Lavinia walk footpath has been showing signs of poor maintenance and disrepair. Since I was elected I have been applying some pressure on Taylor Wimpey (the original developer) to resolve these issues. Following some lengthy discussions and meetings, Taylor Wimpey has agreed on a scheme of works with Swindon Borough Council and will be starting on the 16th November on one side of Lavinia Walk (see highlighted area in blue on map), and should be completed by the 2nd week of December.

The other side of Lavinia Walk still has some approvals needed on the proposed scheme of works and all being well a schedule will follow the first round of works.

Once the works are completed to the required standard Swindon Borough Council can look to progress the formal highways adoption process with Taylor Wimpey.

I know some of these works will be an inconvenience as many of you are working from home, but I am also very conscious that you have been living and using these paths daily for some years in a bad state.

If you have any concerns please do let me know.



–Taylor Wimpey notice:
It is proposed that a narrow footpath will be retained in front of the properties so that both you, the post man, and any other deliveries can still reach your property. This will be fenced off from the remaining area. (If you live in the surrounding area, I ask that you avoid this area for a few weeks, and take one of the other links between Melstock Road and Dydale Road if you need to pass from one to the other.)
The works to the outer part of the path will be completed along with some drainage works within the cordoned off area. Once this area is made safe then the fence will be removed to give access to the remaining strip in front of the houses. Every effort will be made to maximise access but there may be the odd time when we may need to ask that you use your rear access if we are working in the area of your front door.
At this stage the footway / cycleway will have a stone surface which will then need a new macadam surface to be laid. I will contact you again when we are closer to doing that as we will need access for the whole width if we are to lay the macadam surface in one continuous layer.
We will make every effort to minimise any disruption and apologise for any inconvenience that might be caused. The desire to maximise access to your front doors will delay progress slightly but we still hope to complete all the works by the first or second week in December.
The contractor is a local company with an excellent reputation called Bancumm Surfacing Ltd.The works will be supervised by Vine Technical Services, who are Taylor Wimpey’s consultants for this scheme.
Finally, I want to thank you for the patience you have shown whilst waiting for these works to be done. I am also aware that some of you may be working from home during the pandemic, and I hope that we won’t cause too much disturbance. At least at this time of year most people have their windows closed.–


What are your views on Fireworks?

This year, like previous, there has been some lively debate about fireworks, with some strong views. Diwali is this weekend so we are likely to see a few more fireworks yet.

With this in mind, I wanted to draw your attention to an upcoming Swindon Brough Council Full Council meeting, where 2 of my fellow Councillors Steve Heyes (St Andrews Ward) and Bazil Solomon (Liden, Eldene and Park South) will be bringing forward the following motion:
“This Council fully supports the current RSPCA campaign that recognises that whilst fireworks are exciting and fun for many of us, they can also pose significant problems for other people and animals. “Fireworks can be a source of fear and distress for many animals (including pet animals, farm livestock and wildlife). Animals affected not only suffer psychological distress but can also cause themselves injuries – sometimes very serious ones – as they attempt to run away or hide from the noise”.This Council resolves:Continue to require all public firework displays within the local authority boundaries to be advertised in advance of the event, allowing residents to take precautions for their animals and vulnerable people.To actively promote a public awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people – including the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risks.To encourage local suppliers of fireworks to stock ‘quieter’ fireworks for public display.This Council Further Requests that:That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety will write to the Minister with Responsibility for Fireworks at the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, urging them to introduce legislation to limit the maximum noise level of fireworks to 90dB for those sold to the public for private display.”

I am personally supportive of this in line with the steps we can take as a local Council. My views aside I am interested in your views on this.

The full agenda can be found here:Agenda for Council on Thursday, 19th November, 2020, 7.00 p.m. (swindon.gov.uk)

If you have any other questions please do let me know.


Orbital Shopping Park – Drive-through Coffee Shop – planning consultation

A revised planning application has now been submitted for a single drive-through coffee shop within the Asda car park.Previously this application was for 2 units, but it has now been revised down to one. This is partly due to concerns over the level of traffic, parking and access for deliveries in what would be a relatively small space for 2 units.

The new application addresses those concerns and provides (in my opinion) a high quality, sustainable plan, which will bring new jobs to the area.As residents of the area, I welcome your thoughts and opinion on this.

As with all planning applications any comments have to be objective and address a material planning consideration. I do not expect you to find the relevant part of the policy to convey that, but please do comment more than “I don’t want it” or “not another coffee shop”.

I welcome both negative and positive comments so I can understand the general feelings of the community and then I can provide my feedback based on combined views. vmanro2@swindon.gov.uk


Key routes in North Swindon identified for essential resurfacing maintenance

A series of key routes in North Swindon have been identified for essential resurfacing maintenance (please see an attached plan which demonstrates the areas in question).

A start date for the works has now been confirmed with our contractors. It is anticipated that some early preparation works will take place in the week commencing 2nd November, with the resurfacing programme intending to take place from 9th November for approximately 3 weeks. The nature of the work is weather dependent, therefore this may be subject to changes or delays which will be communicated accordingly. As mentioned in my previous correspondence, we have been working with our Streetworks Team to understand the most effective way to complete the works swiftly to reduce the duration of our contractor’s presence in each location, and as such road closures have been agreed.

The proposed programme, dependent upon progress and weather conditions, is as follows:

Monday 09/11/2020 – Thursday 19/11/20208am – 6pm Phase 1 – 5 Oakhurst Way / Tortworth Road – using phased localised closures as per the attached plan.

Friday 20/11/2020 – Monday 23/11/20208am – 6pm Phase 6 Lady Lane (Roundabout north of The Blunsdon Arms)

Tuesday 24/11/2020 – Wednesday 25/11/20208am – 6pm Phase 7 Elstree Way (Roundabout south of The Friary Toby Carvery)

Thursday 26/11/2020 – Friday 27/11/20208pm – 6am Phase 8 Manor Farm Roundabout (rear of the Orbital Shopping Park)

We have agreed with our contractor to ensure that access for residents is maintained at all times, and suitable diversions have been agreed with the Streetworks Team to direct drivers around the works areas. We understand there will be some challenges and minor delays during this time so we aim to move through each of the areas as efficiently as possible. It has also been requested that between each working shift in the same location, our contractor ensures that the road is made safe to be opened for use by residents and buses.

Our contractor will be setting out advance notification signs next week, giving drivers in the area two weeks advance notice prior to the works starting along Oakhurst Way. Further advance notification signs will also be set out at Lady Lane (phase 6), Elstree Way (phase 7) and Manor Farm Roundabout (phase 8) giving the necessary two weeks’ notice to the works in these locations according to the above programme.

To supplement the advance signage, we have worked with our Communications Team to prepare a letter for each of the locations, which will be shared with residents two weeks in advance of the works in the respective affected areas in Oakhurst, Ash Brake and those adjacent to the scheme in Abbey Meads / Haydon Wick. Please find attached a copy of these letters for your information. Letter 1 should be received by Oakhurst residents early next week, with Letter 2, and Letter 3 being finalised for issue to the affected residents in the coming weeks.

In addition, we will be contacting the businesses and schools in the area over the next week to give them an opportunity to ask any questions. Swindon’s Bus Company and Stagecoach Bus are also being kept up to date as the project progresses.

If you have any concerns I will be happy to discuss them. vmanro2@swindon.gov.uk


Hotels are getting ready to re-open

With the governments announcement that Hotels can begin to re-open from the 4th July 2020, work is starting to get busy again.

We will be getting ready to complete a Wireless network installation for a hotel in Hertfordshire that was mid-way through a refurb in the next few days.

Free Wifi

Tomorrow we will begin to power up some systems at another hotel where we manage their infrastructure, ready to bring the network and server estate back online.

Away from hotels we have a group of 10 gyms who want to be able to live stream their classes both inside their gyms and also to the wider public. We are working on integrating into their Signage Live digital signage to make this possible at each of the sites, and link to youtube for live broadcast.

I have responded to an enquiry from a local Swindon school looking to upgrade their existing aging Ruckus Wireless network. Once we have floor plans we can map out existing, and make a proposal for new Access Points. We will also review their switching infrastructure.

The first task for tomorrow will be to open up and retest all the equipment for the managed offices in Leeds, where we have Zoom Rooms conferencing installation to complete.


When your life has flashed before you

It was Thursday the 18th June 2020. A week to the day after my birthday. It was 6am, and I was up and ready for a Zoom Rooms video conference installation up in Leeds. I was leaving early so I could get there and get back in decent time.

I put all the equipment in the car, and took the normal route out towards Leicester where I could catch the M1 North.

Following an Audi, and a lorry for a couple of miles the road opened up to 2 lanes near Stow on the Wold. The Audi in front went past the lorry and I followed. It was wet and raining. The Audi pulled in front of the lorry and I did not wish to continue past as the road would narrow back to a single lane shortly. I maintained my position in lane 2 as the Audi and I pulled away from the lorry slowly.

All of a sudden the Audi aqua-planned, braked hard and was in my lane. I had no where to go as he swerved into me, sending me across the road through the oncoming lane, and straight into a telegraph pole. The car tipped as it hit the curb, and rolled into a wall.

As everything went quiet I realised I was upside down. I could hear the wipers going. I somehow thought I should switch them off, so I did. I pressed the ignition button to turn the car off. I cannot recall if the engine was running or not.

All of a sudden I heard a female voice. I could only see out of the passenger window, but there was no one there. It was the onboard computer, which had opened a call to the BMW control centre. The car had sent my location, and help was on the way. She asked me how I was, where I was, and which services I needed. I recall just saying “send everyone I am upside down”.

Another voice, this time a male. I saw a face at the passenger door. It was the lorry driver and he had also called 999 and told me to stay still as help was on the way.

I was in agony hanging from the seatbelt. I unbuckled it and fell into the roof of the car. My legs still suspended in the footwell of the car. My right leg wedged into the steering wheel.

There was some blood, and I was hurting all over. I could move most of my body though. A lady appeared at the passenger door and said just stay still. The fire brigade arrived first. Unbeknown to me at the time around 20mins had passed since the accident. Police and Ambulance arrived soon after. The fire brigade had secured the car to stop it from rolling over anymore, as it was wedged against a tree, but on top of a small Cotswold Stonewall.

The paramedics asked about my back, where I could feel pain etc. They did feel down my back and again said just stay still. By this time I had manoeuvred myself out of the footwell and was almost on my hands and knees sat on the inside of the roof.

Time passed, the fire brigade covered me in a thick sheet and begun cutting the passenger door open. I don’t know how long this all took, but I am told by the paramedics it took them around 20mins to secure and open.

Once the door opened a gush of fresh air came in, hitting me in the face hard. My life had flashed before me. I crawled to the opening and with the help of a couple of fire men, climbed out. Everyone stood shocked and amazed. None of them expected me to be able to do that. The paramedics were unsure, but they quickly put me onto a board and in the ambulance strapped me down. They begun assessing me. The police came and and asked for my details. They took my license, and they breathalysed me. Of course I had not been drinking so I was all clear.

Some more time passed in the ambulance. I don’t really know how long. Cheltenham hospital which was the nearest did not have an open A&E dept. It had closed a week earlier. Remember we are in the middle of COVID19!

So it was a 45 min drive to Gloucester hospital. Through the journey, I was feeling more and more pain all over. Once we arrived I was greeted by a nurse putting a mask on me, and checking my temperature, before we could enter the trauma unit.

More tests, bloods were taken, body parts were being checked and some pain killers administered. I had a whole host of scans all which showed no broken bones or serious injury.

How did I survive? How did I not get injured. Everyone I spoke to said seeing the car they were expecting the worst case. scenario.

To walk out of hospital a few hours later is a pure miracle. I have cuts, bruises, aches and pains, but I am alive. I am not sure how but I am.


Casterbridge Road Traffic Regulation Order – Double Yellow Lines

Back in July 2019 Cllrs Faramarzi, Davies and I wrote to residents following ongoing complaints about parking on a section of Casterbridge Road.

Following this consultation, and the majority in support, the scheme has now progressed to final consultation on the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO).

Copies of this are being sent to residents in the area.

This is the final opportunity to share your views.

If approved the scheme as outlined in the image will go ahead.

If you would like to submit feedback you can do so to vmanro2@swindon.gov.uk


Calls for even more action to tackle speeding on Thamesdown Drive

“Speeding along Thamesdown Drive and other roads is something which concerns many residents in Priory Vale and surrounding areas, myself included. 

In the summer of 2019 Swindon Borough Council Highways undertook some traffic monitoring following Councillors requests and in response to residents concerns.

I recall discussing some of the police enforcement action from 2019, and was surprised at the high percentage of those stopped for speeding being local residents from Priory Vale, St Andrews, Haydon Wick, Blunsdon. 

The results highlighted a low percentage of issues, given the high traffic volume which uses the road daily. However, it did bring about some changes to traffic light timings to assist with improved traffic flow.

I continue to work with PCC Angus MacPherson and Wiltshire Police to push for proportionate responses to speeding and red light jumping on Thamesdown Drive.

Our local officers in North Swindon and the Traffic Team are doing a fantastic job to address concerns. I fully support the increased enforcement on Thamesdown Drive.”

https://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/18485233.calls-even-action-tackle-speeding-thamesdown-drive/


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