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.”

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.”

Warm & Safe Wiltshire

Warming up Swindon!

Do you struggle to keep your home warm or worry how you will afford your energy bills this winter?

Contact Warm & Safe Wiltshire for free, impartial advice about keeping your home warm, using your heating system, understanding your energy bills and making energy saving improvements as well as registering for the Priority Services Register.  Advice can be given through home visits as well as over the phone.  Fire safety alarm and appliance checks can also be organised in partnership with Fire and Rescue for eligible residents.

If you, or someone you know, would benefit from speaking to a trained energy advisor, then get in touch.

Call 0800 038 5722

Warm and Safe Wiltshire is a service provided by Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council in partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Energy and Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service.

Thank you from a visitor to the Town

‘I had business in Highworth today and managed to find a parking space in the area opposite Grosvenor Consultancy offices on the High Street. I returned to my car around 5pm. Due to a car parked in front of me I had to reverse back onto the High Street to leave. Unfortunately a combination of the ice I was parked on, my rear wheel drive car and the incline , I was unable to gain enough traction to reverse. I was trying to clear the ice around my wheels when a young chap approached and offered to push me off the ice onto the ice free main road. He tried really hard but in vain. A lady returned who was parked next to me .She has some cardboard in her car and offered me that to try to put behind my wheels to help with lack of traction. That didn’t work either. The chap who helped pushing then  suggested I try the pub opposite for some hot water to melt the ice. The landlady was great and on my second trip back to my car with a jug of hot water another gentleman was standing next to my car. He had seen my plight from an upstairs window opposite and brought some dishwasher salt to help melt the ice. The combination of the water and salt freed me up from the ice and I could be on my way. In the space of less than 10 minutes four individuals who were not known to me tried to help. So a BIG thank you to the people of Highworth. This was only the second or third time I have visited Highworth, but it will not be the last!’


Highworth Neighbourhood Plan Referendum Report

HIGHWORTH residents voted in favour of an ambitious plan which will help them direct new housing developments in the town.

The Highworth Neighbourhood Plan has been in the works for three years and after months of meetings and consultations between councillors and residents, it was put to the public vote in a referendum on Thursday.

Reported by Swindon Advertiser

Read the article

Highworth United Charities

Highworth United Charities

The Trustees of Highworth United Charities invite residents of Highworth and South Marston who feel in genuine need to apply for a Relief of Need grant.  Application forms are available from the Highworth Town Council Office or from the Lions Shop in Newburgh Place.

Application forms for the Educational Fund (supporting the education or training of young persons) are also available from the Council Office or the Lions Shop.