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 after Monday 10 September 2018 to 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.
Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians are being encouraged to join hundreds of people in reporting potholes so they can be fixed by Swindon Borough Council.
The month-long potholes campaign has been launched today (18 June) as the Council continues to repair the borough’s roads following the significant damage caused by the cold weather over the winter.
It has never been easier to report a pothole with residents able to let the Council know via an online pothole reporting tool at www.swindon.gov.uk/potholes.
The multiple cold snaps and snow from November to March caused large amounts of damage to road surfaces across the country with the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) Survey estimating over £9bn in repairs are required nationally.
The Council maintains more than 510 miles of roads across the borough and a team of six highway inspectors identify potholes and other problems with roads, pavements and cycle paths.
The Council has been working hard to repair Swindon’s roads with 8,004 potholes and patch repairs of footpaths, cycle paths and roads completed in the borough between 1 June 2017 and 31 May 2018. This was in response to only 774 reports of potholes from residents during the same time period.
Although main routes in the town are inspected regularly, the Council only has resources to check residential and rural roads and cycle paths once every six months. This means that many potholes in rural areas can go unseen unless they are reported.
Once a reported pothole is inspected, the Council prioritises the most urgent repairs to prevent damage to vehicles. If a hole in the road is deeper than 40mm, the Council aims to fix it within 24 hours of inspection.
As part of the campaign we have published new information on our website to help residents understand how Council manages potholes using the finite funds available: https://www.swindon.gov.uk/info/20040/road_safety_maintenance_and_repairs/339/report_a_pothole/2
Cllr Fionuala Foley, Cabinet Member for Highways and the Environment, said: “Our teams work tirelessly every day to repair Swindon’s extensive road network, but we need residents’ help in letting us know about potholes we may not be aware of.
“I can understand people’s frustration at the damage they see on our roads but I can assure we are trying our best to repair the winter damage which is why we are asking for help.
“Over the last year we have fixed ten times as many potholes as people have reported, with over 8,000 repairs made which shows the scale of the problem we are dealing with.
“We are also spending more than £1.6m in larger repairs across the borough this year and £405,000 of additional funding from the Government will be invested in large patch repairs to help keep Swindon moving.”
A brand new exhibition launches on Friday (30 March) at STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway in Swindon.
Entitled The GWR Publicity Machine, the special exhibition explores the history of the GWR’s publicity department and the wonderful advertising materials that it produced. The GWR led the way in advertising and promoting its brand during the first half of the 20th Century.
The Cornish Riviera campaign was a particularly successful advertising campaign, launched in 1904 to promote the company’s Paddington to Penzance service. Posters and publications were used to advertise the service and the destination, and it proved so successful that the Cornish Riviera slogan is still used today.
Visitors to STEAM will discover the enduring style of the GWR brand. On display in the exhibition is a wealth of GWR publicity material. This ranges from guide books and advertising leaflets, to souvenir bookmarks and the famous GWR jigsaw puzzles.
Also included is a glass inkwell embossed with the well-known GWR slogan Go Great Western.
This exhibition is supported by Great Western Railway.
Once visitors have experienced the exhibition, they can enjoy many more historical photographs, illustrations and vintage railway posters throughout the year. Follow the museum on Facebook: @SteamMuseum, and Twitter: @Steam_Museum.
The GWR Publicity Machine is included with standard STEAM admission, special event admission, and also to STEAM Season Ticket holders. The new exhibition will be open from Friday, 30 March.
STEAM is open Monday to Saturday between 10am and 5pm, and on Sundays between 11am and 4pm.
The HWRC is closed all day on Wednesdays throughout the year.
Over the last 12 months a number of improvements have been made to the HWRC to allow residents and traders to drop off their waste and recycling far quicker than in the past.
This includes having a dedicated lane for traders, removing them from residents dropping off household waste and recycling.
In order to improve queuing times at the site, residents are reminded that those using the recycling centre will need to show they are a resident of the borough before dropping off their waste.
For further information about the Household Waste Recycling Centre can be found at: www.swindon.gov.uk/hwrc
Residents can also plan their visits to the centre by using the link to the webcam which shows current queues at the site. The webcam, however, will be switched off on Wednesdays when the recycling centre is closed.
Highworth Town Council has been informed that from Sunday 11 March the Number 12 bus to the Orbital Park and on to Great Western Hospital will cease to operate due to insufficient passenger numbers.
It was decided by Councillors that as part of re-developing the Podium the current tree will be taken out and replaced by another, more suitable one. The tree was removed on Thursday 1st March 2018 and a new one will be planted as part of the re-modelling of the Podium later on in the year.
The reasons for taking the tree out at this time are that, firstly, the work would have been much more difficult if it had been left to come into leaf. Secondly, the roots damaged the Podium surface and the continuous requirement to monitor the damage and carry out running repairs proved costly, particularly when the whole surface is due to be replaced in the new build.
The Tree Preservation Order (TPO), which was placed on the tree, does allow for it to be taken down, but it is stipulated that it must be replaced with a tree species called Liquidamber which has to be semi-mature (20 to 25 cm in girth). A replacement tree is currently being sourced.
The remodelling of the Podium is still under negotiation with the Conservation department at Swindon Borough Council. The Conservation Officer is engaged in ensuring that the Town Council takes appropriate care of its Market Square, including the choice of materials and colour of surface. It is hoped this will soon be resolved.
NORTHVIEW PLAY AREA UPDATE
The new equipment at Northview Park has now been installed and is proving to be very popular. The mobliss has been repaired, new bark put down and the timber outlining the park replaced. A new slide will be installed within the next few weeks along with two benches, one kindly donated by Highworth & District Lions.