Author: Highworth Town Council

Council continues to bark up the right tree for its stray dog service

Swindon Borough Council’s Licensing team has one again received top marks from the RSPCA for its stray dog service.


The prestigious gold standard was announced at the animal charity’s recent Community Animal Welfare Footprints (CAWF) awards.


The award scheme was developed 10 years ago by the RSPCA to recognise outstanding work carried out by local authorities, housing providers and other public service organisations, and to highlight those who go above and beyond statutory requirements to improve animal welfare and their communities.

Dealing with stray dogs goes beyond just animal welfare, as it has a much wider impact on the community on matters such as street cleanliness, public protection and anti-social behaviour.

The Council’s licensing team once again had to comply with a wide range of criteria in order to be awarded the gold standard, including assistance with compulsory micro-chipping, and regular proactive work to encourage responsible dog ownership.

This includes providing educational sessions in schools to help children understand how to safely interact with dogs.

The team also scooped a Silver Animal Activity Licensing Footprint, while the Council’s Environmental Protection Officer for Animals, Alison Waine, was nominated for a new special award, which recognises individual members of public sector staff who are making the biggest impact to animal welfare in England and Wales. Alison was nominated by local RSPCA Chief Inspector, Steph Daly.

Commenting on her recognition, Alison said: “We have an excellent relationship with our local RSPCA group and it is lovely to have this recognition from them.

“We have seen a 44 per cent increase in the number of stray dogs reported to us over the last two years but, despite that, we managed to reduce the number of dogs that were not claimed and so required a rescue space from 20 per cent to just 13 per cent.

“None of our unclaimed dogs were put to sleep including some that were ill, elderly or had behaviour issues as we were able to find excellent rescues to take them on and work with them.”

Cllr Cathy Martyn, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety, said: “We only have a small Animal Licensing team, so to gain this recognition from the RSPCA is a magnificent achievement.


“Alison and her colleague do a tremendous job and have changed the way they work so they provide a consistently efficient and effective service on limited resources. I would like to thank them for all their hard work – these awards are thoroughly deserved.”


To report a lost or found dog to the Animal Warden, call 01793 445500.

Drivers to be fined for inconsiderate parking as council takes action

Residents will soon be able to report inconsiderate drivers as the Council implements new powers from October.

After asking residents to comment on the proposal earlier this year, the Council will be issuing Penalty Charge Notices of up to £113 from 1 October under the Traffic Management Act, if drivers block dropped kerbs and driveways or double park.

The enforcement action is being introduced following concerns raised by residents over the effect this type of parking has on pedestrians with pushchairs, mobility scooters, those with visual impairments and households with driveways.

Residents can let the Council’s Parking Team know of any instances of this type of parking by reporting the offence online and officers will then attend areas where complaints are raised.

The powers do not apply to vehicles parking on the pavement unless they are obstructing a dropped kerb or driveway.

Vehicles being used for loading and unloading, emergency services, waste collection, and roadworks are among those exempt from the restrictions. Residents blocking their own driveways are also exempt as complaints need to be raised by the resident who is blocked in.

Cllr Oliver Donachie, Cabinet Member for Economic Prosperity, said: “We want to help the local community by minimising instances of inconsiderate parking which we know cause great inconvenience and distress for many of our residents.

“In order to make this an efficient and effective implementation of the powers, residents need to report instances online and details of how to do this can be found on the Council’s website by searching ‘parking enforcement’.

“We cannot guarantee an immediate visit by our Parking Team but priority will be given to persistent offences or those which cause significant access issues either for pedestrians or other vehicles.”

LEGO® Adventures Coming to STEAM Museum (Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 October 2018)

Swindon’s STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway will soon be opening its doors to a weekend full of LEGO® action and adventure at the Great Western Brick Show.

Huge models and gigantic LEGO® displays, inspired by pirates, spaceships, monsters and movies, will be exhibited throughout the Swindon Borough Council-owned museum, alongside the famous GWR locomotives and exhibits at this unique show.

Show partners with STEAM, the Brickish Association, visit the museum every year with their collection of unique large-scale models and massive themed landscapes using the well-known and loved toy bricks.

Martin Long, co-organiser of the show on behalf of the Brickish Association, said: “Our show at STEAM attracts visitors from all over the UK and our aim is always to inspire children and adult LEGO® fans to get involved and build their own models at home.

“We don’t show images of all our new show models ahead of the weekend as we don’t want to spoil the ‘WOW!’ factor and amazing surprises experienced by our visitors.

“Bricks to the Past history group have given a few hints about their exhibits this year on their Facebook page and I urge people to take a look at the show website to glimpse the astounding quality of models that can be expected at the show – many on display for the first time.

“Every year we feel we have achieved the ‘impossible’ and wonder whether our creativity has peaked. And every year we keep achieving something even more amazing than before. We simply can’t wait to share what we have in store.

“The weekend will also include a giant LEGO® mosaic* that visitors can help build over the weekend, a LEGO® shop and market place and dramatic LEGO® robot battle tournaments.”

Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for STEAM, said: “The Great Western Brick Show is a brilliant day out for families and LEGO® fans.

“The displays on show are the best I have seen outside of Legoland. The Minions, interactive trains and Robot models were my personal favourites last year and I look forward to seeing what surprises are unwrapped this time around.

“If you haven’t been before it is well worth a visit, and please remember that STEAM is only a short 10-minute walk from all of the town centre carparks!”

Energy levels can be topped up at both the Brick Café and STEAM’s Platform One Café with freshly made hot and cold refreshments.

Doors open between 10am and 5pm on both days.

Tickets are available on the day as well as in advance via STEAM’s website at:

Prices: £10.50 for children (3-15 yrs); £10.50 for seniors and students; £12.50 for adults.

Family tickets are available from £33.50 (two adults, one child) – please see STEAM website for more details. Under threes go free.

STEAM Season Ticket holders receive a 10 per cent discount on tickets.

For more information please visit the STEAM website or the official Great Western Brick Show website at

Council launches name a recycling lorry competition

Boaty McBoatface and Gritsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Anti-Slip Machinery are just some of the names that have grabbed national headlines in recent boat and grit lorry-naming competitions, but now Swindon residents are being given their chance to shine.


As part of its ongoing recycling campaign, and to create an interest in recycling in general, Swindon Borough Council is asking local people to come up with eye-catching names for four of its 13 recycling lorries.


Once the completion is finished, the names will be made into stickers which will be attached to the front of the lorries so that the name can be clearly seen by passers-by.


The competition will run from this week until October 12. The contest will be held on the Council’s official Facebook and Twitter pages and Youtube channel.


To enter, all residents need to do is submit their name choice onto the comment thread set up on the Council’s Facebook and Twitter pages, or in the comments section on the ‘Name a Recycling Lorry’ video on the Council’s Youtube channel.


Once the submission window has closed, the suggested names will be whittled down to 12 finalists, with the suggested lorry names then listed on social media and residents will be able to vote for their favourite. The four names with the highest number of votes will be emblazoned on the recycling vehicles.


Residents are encouraged to be as creative as possible when suggesting names, but no offensive or inappropriate names will be accepted. The thread will be monitored and any derogatory names will be removed.


The Council has recently begun a campaign to promote Swindon’s existing recycling service and stimulate an uptake of recycling in Swindon.


The competition as a whole aims to encourage Swindon residents to take a greater interest in recycling and try and make sure that they recycle as much as they can.


More information on what can be recycled and the best way to sort recycling can be found on the Council’s website:


Councillor Maureen Penny, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and the Environment, said: “I am delighted to announce the launch of this wonderful competition and encourage people in Swindon to get creative and come up with the most amazing names they can think of.


“We hope this competition inspires people to take an even greater interest in recycling and encourages them to learn more. Our website is a good resource that contains lots of information about what can be recycled and is definitely worth a look.”


To find out more about the Council’s draft Waste Strategy and to take part in the online survey visit:

Museum and Art Gallery exhibition to mark special centenary

A hundred years after the guns fell silent at the end of the First World War, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery is hosting a new exhibition exploring the impact of the conflict on the landscape and people of Wiltshire.


The exhibition “Cicatrix… the scar of a healed wound” brings together six contemporary artists from the South West, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.


The exhibition includes installation, drawing, painting, printmaking and film responding to the unique landscape and history of Salisbury Plain. While the Plain has been used by the military since 1896, the landscape has a special association with the First World War, when thousands of local soldiers took part in manoeuvres and training in Wiltshire.


Curator Sophie Cummings said: “We are delighted to be hosting this exhibition. Artists Prudence Maltby, Susan Francis and Henny Burnett work in the South West and have a special association with the area.


“For this exhibition, they are joined by Commonwealth artists Caro Williams (New Zealand), Catherine Farish (Canada) and Sophie Cape (Australia). Together, they offer a unique perspective on Wiltshire and on the First World War. We hope visitors will be challenged, informed and inspired by the contemporary art on display.”


Cicatrix is part of a series of exhibitions, workshops and talks at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.


The six artists of Cicatrix have each selected pieces from the Swindon Collection of Modern British Art that offer resonance with their own interests and practice. This mini exhibition, Art and Conflict, will also be displayed in the art gallery.


It will include Augustus John’s important First World War drawing, Canadian Soldiers, as well as works by Claude Francis Barry and Graham Sutherland.


Leader of the Council, Councillor David Renard, said: “We are in the final year of our commemorations, remembering the bravery of those who fought, lived and died in the First World War.


“These exhibitions from Swindon Museum and Art Gallery explores the impact of the war from an artist’s point of view and are a fitting tribute to those who gave their lives during the conflict.”


The two exhibitions open to the public tomorrow (12 Sep). Further information on the talks and workshops can be found on the museum’s website –

Swindon Borough Council acts to keep people safe with Old Town cameras

A popular Old Town nightspot has been made safer for everyone thanks to the installation of five new CCTV cameras.

Swindon Borough Council has spent £30,000 on the cameras, which are intended to help police tackle anti-social behaviour.

The cameras have already proved a success after helping the police respond to two recent incidents, including a case of domestic violence on Bath Road, within days of being installed.

The safety measures, which were paid for through Section 106 funding, come at the request of local businesses and police teams who need support to detect those committing offences in the area.

The cameras are located at various points around Wood Street, Devizes Road and Newport Street.

Councillor Cathy Martyn, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety, said: “These new safety measures are intended to ensure that Old Town remains a safe destination at all times.

“As a Council, we have listened to the concerns of local residents and businesses and we are fully on their side in the fight against anti-social and criminal behaviour.

“We need to ensure that those visiting the area are safe and it is important to send a clear message that those who commit offences will be identified and dealt with accordingly.”

The five new cameras are part of the town centre CCTV network which is transmitted back to the Council’s main control room. 

Wiltshire Police has given its backing to the installation of the cameras.

PC Paul Bezzant said: “As part of the Community Policing Team who regularly deal with incidents of anti-social behaviour, I am really pleased that Swindon Borough Council has installed these new CCTV cameras.

“Not only do they provide a useful tool for my colleagues and I to identify witnesses and suspects, they also show exactly what has happened, which can be very helpful in determining the full circumstances of an incident.

“We continue to work closely with partners with the joint aim of preventing crimes from taking place and making our community safer.”

And after many years campaigning for CCTV cameras, the Old Town Business Association is delighted that at last they have been installed in the heart of Old Town.

Chairman Richard Deacon said: “This project is a great example of businesses, the Council and the police working together to help make Swindon a safer place.”

Recycling in Swindon

Recycling in Swindon

The government has set a target for the UK to reach a 50% recycling rate by 2020. Right now, our recycling rate is 38% which has fallen from 48% in 2011/12.

Recycling can be confusing but it doesn’t have to be. To start, why not check out our website: where you can find a handy guide to what can and can’t be recycled. We carry out recycling collections every two weeks and you can find when your collection day is on our website.

The simplest way to recycle is to split your recyclables (excluding plastics) into two boxes. Put your cardboard and paper in one box and your glass bottles and jars, tins, cans, foil and empty aerosols in another. Don’t worry if you only have one box, it’s completely fine to put everything in together but try to group them into different sections in the box. You can recycle fabrics and shoes too, just pop them in a tied up plastic bag on top of your recycling box. Apart from that, all you need to do is make sure your recycling is clean and dry. Large pieces of cardboard should be broken into smaller pieces, about the size of a suitcase, but it’s best not to put broken glass in your box as it is dangerous for our collectors.

Then just leave your box on your property boundary (usually the part where your home ends and the road/pavement begins or designated collection point if you live in flats) by 6.30am on collection day with the lid firmly on the box.

Podium update


Podium Plans


Work has begun on the Podium:


Councillors awarded the contract for the Podium Refurbishment work to C J Cook and Partners at a Council meeting on Thursday 2 August 2018. The company has been asked to commence work from Monday 24 September 2018 this will allow the annual Fair to visit in the first week in September. The work is expected to be finished by the end of October and well before Remembrance Sunday to allow for the Remembrance Sunday Service to take place on the Podium. During the work, the back row of car parking spaces will be closed as half the Market Square will be fenced off by the Contractors carrying out the work.

Whilst work is undertaken, the Market will temporarily relocate to the old library car park (near the Public Loos).