Save the date: AGM and guest speaker

10th August 2017

Save the date: forthcoming talk and AGM

Thursday 19th October at Central Community Centre

Further information about both the AGM and the talk will be released in the fullness of time. This post is simply to flag the event up with you so you can get it in your diary.

SCV Membership

The admission fee to our talks (to cover venue costs and refreshments) is reduced for members of Swindon Civic Voice. So if you’re not a member now’s a good time!

It’s only £5 for a year or £2 if you’re unwaged. Find out more here: http://www.swindoncivicvoice.org.uk/membership-2/

Victorian Turkish Baths

Portico at Health Hydro - victorian turkish baths scv talk

Once the business of the AGM is concluded we have a special guest speaker: Malcolm Shifrin

Mr Shrifin is an expert on the Victorian Turkish Bath: their origin, their development and their decline.

This is a subject close to the heart of Swindon because, of the eight remaining Victorian Turkish baths in the UK, one of them is here in the Health Hydro.

Find out more about the Health Hydro:

http://www.victoriansociety.org.uk/news/health-hydro-swindon/

The Health Hydro

Mr Shrifrin has written a book on the subject. Taken from his website: ‘Malcolm’s unique book, Victorian Turkish Baths, is the first ever to be written on the subject, and was commissioned in 2011 by Historic England (formerly part of English Heritage).’

If you’re curious as to how his interest began: ‘In Bath in 1990, he happened to notice a decorated initial B on a stained glass door panel in a health club which had once been a Turkish bath. This was his introduction to the strange world of Charles Bartholomew who (falsely) claimed to have built the first modern Turkish bath in England. Finding that no one else had made a study of the Victorian Turkish bath, he determined that this was how he would spend his retirement.’

Find SCV on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/swindoncivicvoice/

 

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I care about where I live

Civic Day: I care about where I live

I care about where I live - civic day

This year’s Civic Day was launched in the Houses of Parliament with the help of Civic Day 2016 award winners and their local MPs.

In advance of Civic Day on Saturday June 17th  we’d love you to get involved and tell us why you love Swindon and why you care about where you live.

Tweet us a picture of yourself holding the I care about where I live sign (download link below) to @SwindonV or post it on Facebook tagging Swindon Civic Voice: https://www.facebook.com/swindoncivicvoice/

 OR – make your own! Get creative – make your own sign to tell us why you love where you live.

Tell us why you care about where you live and use the hashtags #ICareAboutWhereILive and #CivicDay

Try and include the @civic_voice on your tweet too.

The link to the sign is on the Civic Voice website here: http://civicvoice.org.uk/resources/i-care-about-where-i-live

Come on Swindon. Show everyone much you #ICareAboutWhereILive

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Civic Day 2017: Celebrating 50 years of Conservation Areas

30th May 2017

Civic Day 2017: Celebrating 50 years of Conservation Areas

Join us for national ‘Civic Day’ on Saturday 17th June from 11am – 4pm

SCV & MIT banner

FREE admission

The event on Facebook. 

This year Civic Day, which is led by the national Civic Voice charity, is celebrating 50 years of conservation areas. This provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and enjoy Swindon’s unique Railway Village Conservation Area.

national civic voice logo

Swindon Civic Voice and Mechanics’ Institution Trust, Swindon have teamed up to offer ‘Open Doors’ at four of Swindon’s treasured heritage assets: Milton Road Baths, the Railway Village Museum, Central Community Centre and The Baker’s Arms.

Guided tours of the Railway Village will also be given at 11am and 3pm. At 4pm there will be tea and cake and a special unveiling at Central Community Centre!

This event has been funded by, and with thanks to, The Midcounties Co-operative.

  • Free admission
  • Children welcomeFor enquiries: please email info@swindoncivicvoice.org.uk

If you’re feeling social you can find both organisations on social media:

Facebook: 

Swindon Civic Voice: https://www.facebook.com/swindoncivicvoice/

The Mechanics’ Institute Trust: https://www.facebook.com/mechanicstrust/?fref=ts

Twitter: 

Swindon Civic Voice: @SwindonV

Mechanics’ Institute Trust: @mechanics_trust

I care about where I live –  Civic Day 2017 launch event – Why do you care about where you live?

This year’s Civic Day was launched in the Houses of Parliament with the help of Civic Day 2016 award winners and their local MPs.

YOU TOO can get involved.

Tweet us a picture of yourself holding the Civic Day sign – link to download it below.

Tell us why you care about where you live and use the hashtags #ICareAboutWhereILive  and #CivicDay

Try and include the @civic_voice on your tweet too.

The link to the Civic Day sign is on the Civic Day website here: http://civicvoice.org.uk/resources/i-care-about-where-i-live

Come on Swindon. Show everyone much you #ICareAboutWhereILive

Civic Day 2017

 

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Submission to council 1 & 3 Faringdon Road

Submission re Planning Application S/17/0368, 1 & 3 Faringdon Road Swindon

On behalf of ‘Swindon Civic Voice’, c/o Health Hydro, Milton Road Swindon SN1 5JB

1-3 Faringdon Road Swindon No2

17th April 2007

Swindon Civic Voice OBJECTS to the above application on the grounds of change of use and lack of public consultation.

The uses proposed, especially the conversion for sale of flats, have not been subject to public exploration of options.

Indeed Forward Swindon Ltd, as a wholly-owned SBC company has tried to avoid public consultation, even with the three expressly interested organisations. Namely:

  • Swindon Civic Voice
  • Mechanics’s Institution Trust
  • The central area residents’ improvement group.

A token evening ‘consultation’ with neighbouring businesses was exactly that: tokenistic.

We do not wish to make a lengthy objection. We believe that the Council should now respond to public interest by opening up access to what decision making process there might be to public consideration.

They should do this in their capacity as:

  • Trustees of the charitable fund owning the premises
  • The local government body
  • Owners of Forward Swindon Ltd.

1 and 3 Faringdon Road

We list related issues:

  • SBC refused Swindon Civic Voice’s request to have the premised listed as being potential Assets of Community Value – as promoted under the provisions of the Localities Act.

We disagreed with that decision and will now ppeal to MP Robert Buckland to investigate that decision and help us to ‘appeal’.

We’ll do this in the light of the lack of engagement with local groups that have expressed interest in occupying the premises to the benefit of the wider town community. And also the fact that further High Court decisions may be relevant.

  • The premises warrant listing and inclusion in the Railway Village Conservation Area, or at least exploration of its listing potential. We have not pursued listing ourselves, due to amount of effort required and lack of resources of time due to other priorities.
  • The introduction of flats is unnecessary and is a ‘throwaway’ of another of Swindon’s significant properties by dint of its location, its role in generation of charitable funds, and its proximity to Railway Village Conservation Area.
  • It’s understood that, at least 12 years ago, the Mechanics’ Trust promoted an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding for an entire retail streetscape under the Townscape Heritage Initiative.

This effort was scuppered by the Conservation Officer at the time (now deceased) in a letter to Julia Drown MP. This letter stated that it was not of the quality HLF would consider. This is clearly untrue.

  • The Council has long intended to off-load these premises – since 1990 at least.  It has therefore neglected to invest in its upkeep. Any dereliction is due to the council’s own policy toward the premises.
  • The premises have been a key element in Swindon’s voluntary sector provision since 1932, and should be carefully examined for potential voluntary or community uses as part of any future decision.
  • The premises are now secure, and proper consideration can now be given without endangering the premises in the interim.

There is more that could be said in this vein. But what is required now is proper public scrutiny of the related issues, which all relate to council behaviour Vis-à-vis its citizens’ efforts.

We appeal to SBC/FSL to withdraw this application until such public scrutiny/consultation can be properly conducted.  

There is nothing financial or physical to be lost by doing so.  This focal, corner property has long been an eye-sore of the Council’s own making, and no rush to a ‘quick win’ decision in interest of town centre regeneration should be allowed to prevail. 

If this was an issue, then SBC should have responded to approaches from ourselves (Asset of Community Value application), and from Mechanics’ Trust (Townscape Heritage Initiative per HLF) a dozen years ago.

Finally Ken White’s whimsical painting of the building:

Ken white painting of faringdon house

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Waking up to Swindon’s Parishes: Thursday 16th March

Waking up to Swindon’s new parish councils

What opportunities do they offer to create more positive, coherent and supportive communities?

Next Swindon Civic Voice event on Thursday 16th March (7pm at Health Hydro) will focus on the future of the newly parished areas of Swindon.

We meet in the former Dispensary Room of the Health Hydro — one of Swindon’s inspiring, (yet) secret, spaces!

A panel will consider the following topics, and polite discussion will be encouraged.

  • What has been decided already?
  • Who can stand for the new Parish Councils?
  • What time commitment might be expected?
  • How might we keep them non-partisan (or party political) and neighbourly?
  • What could be the benefits? (and what might be the downsides?)
  • What will be the difference between the new Parish Councils and

Swindon Borough Council in terms of responsibilities, options and budgets?

  • Who can you persuade to stand who will represent your neighbourhood?

Our last event considered ‘the numbers game’ by which housing developments are determined for Swindon, and much light was shed on the issue.

On the panel are Chris Watts and Roger Ogle and the chair is Martha Parry.

Martha Parry is chair of Swindon Civic Voice. Chris Watts chaired the interim South Swindon Central Parish and Roger Ogle, late of Swindon Link Magazine, is a concerned citizen!

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Penny Readings at the Central Community Centre

22 February 2016

The Penny Readings

At the Central Community Centre in Emlyn Square.

Tuesday 28th February 11am-1pm

Penny readings poster

A super fun and FREE event brought to you at the historic central community centre.

www.poetryswindon.org

Here’s some general information about the Penny Readings on Born again Swindonian:

Penny Readings Return!

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February 2017 talk: Town planning in Swindon

 11th February 2017

Town Planning in Swindon

swindon civic voice logo

Swindon Civic Voice Event: 23rd February 2017 @ Health Hydro, 7pm

Swindon Civic Voice are hosting this talk as as part of their regular programme of events. It’s a two-hander from Phil Smith and Karen Phiminster – both planners with Swindon Borough Council.

Counting the Houses” by Phil Smith, Senior Forward Planner at SBC

In this first section, Phil Smith will explain how decisions are made about the number of houses that are required to be built in Swindon.

He will show where houses have been built since Swindon Civic Voice asked ‘How Big Should Swindon Be’ at our AGM in 2012′. He’ll also identify planned development areas for housing, as his team work on the Early Review of Swindon’s Local Plan to 2018.

A difficult method of determining the government’s housing expectation of Swindon (“the 5-Year Supply”) will be outlined, as a basis for Swindon Civic Voice’s further thinking about the shape of Swindon in the future.

Points that Mr Smith may cover include:

  • How are numbers set?
  • How are locations chosen?
  • How big is Swindon expected to grow?
  • What is the “5-Year Supply” and how has this affected recent housing appeals by developers?)

Following on from Mr Smith’s presentation we have: Introduction to Neighbourhood Planning” by Karen Phiminster, Graduate Planner at SBC

Ms. Phiminster will provide a short introduction to the opportunity for citizen involvement in ‘Neighbourhood Planning’, as provided under the government’s Localism approach.

With new Parish Councils forming, and Swindon expanding still, we will learn a bit about the requirements, and about experiences in other towns and cities.

Swindon Civic Voice expects to be involved in encouraging participation in ‘Neighbourhood Planning’, so this will be a short introduction to further activities.

Possible Content of Karen’s talk:

  • What is ‘Neighbourhood Planning’, and how is this different from the past?
  • What are the requirements for preparing a Neighbourhood Plan?
  • Where have Neighbourhood Plans been prepared within Swindon?
  • How have other places approached this ‘opportunity’?)

See Swindon Civic voice on Facebook:

Our open page: https://www.facebook.com/swindoncivicvoice/?fref=ts

Our closed Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/364658943571804/

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SwindonV

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A Brief History of the Civic Society Movement

Download a history of the Civic Voice Movement

Civic voice logo

Swindon Civic Voice is part of a wider national Civic Voice movement: http://www.civicvoice.org.uk

‘Civic Voice is the national charity for the civic movement in England. We make places more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive. We promote civic pride.’

Mission: http://www.civicvoice.org.uk/about/mission/

‘Civic Voice works to make the places where everyone lives more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive. We speak up for civic societies and local communities across England. We promote civic pride. We are the national charity for the civic movement and have a strong local presence. We know how people feel about places because we feel the same way….’

The download below will give you more information about the Civic Voice Movement

A Brief History of the Civic Society Movement.
A_Brief_History-1.

Download

See also: http://swindonian.me/2016/04/10/the-civic-society-movement-swindon/

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Swindon Local Plan ‘Examination in Public’ Begins Tomorrow

29th April 2014 is a key moment in shaping the future of Swindon.

It is the day of the final stage of the planning cycle for the Swindon Local Plan, which will be in force until 2026.

A Planning Inspector will conduct a series of hearings over the coming 4 weeks, at which he will raise a number of questions which explore the DRAFT Swindon Local Plan.  The purpose will be to establish whether the DRAFT is suitable for Approval; if he finds that it is, then the Plan will guide the development of our town until 2026.

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Celebrate Coate

Here is a poster you can download for our Celebrate Coate! events in early April!

coate poster jan

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