Leader of Swindon Borough Council to present annual report

Swindon Borough Council

David Renard will present his assessment of how the authority has done over the last 12 months to members of the scrutiny committee

The leader of Swindon Borough Council will present his annual report to the council’s scrutiny committee next week.

David Renard will present his assessment of how the authority has done over the last 12 months to members of the committee – and they will be able to quiz him on it.

The report is divided into different areas of the council’s activities.

One such is leisure. With the Oasis centre still closed after 17 months since late 2020, Coun Renard writes: The leisure industry has been hit hard by Covid-19 and we have supported our leisure operator GLL recognising the impact the closure of leisure centres has had on their trading activity. We continue to work with them to gauge how the leisure sector recovers post lockdown.

We are in regular contact with SevenCapital on both the Oasis and North Star site. Our main focus is on SevenCapital’s work to refurbish the Oasis as it is important the leisure centre is brought back into use as soon as is practically possible, he writes.

It has become clear the listing of the Oasis has significantly increased the costs of delivering a financially viable and sustainable building. However, finding a solution for the Oasis is a priority and we will continue to work with SevenCapital to ensure all options are explored, he writes.

Much is made of the authority’s efforts and successes in redevelopment and regeneration projects.

Coun Renard lists the different grants which have made up £119m ($149.50m) in government funding for projects and programmes in the town along with £21.4m ($26.89m) in match funding from the council.

He writes: This funding has proven essential in providing critical ‘up front’ infrastructure to enable the future delivery of housing and employment opportunities at scale on our Greenfield expansion sites and to ensure that Swindon’s road network is future proofed against additional demand arising from new strategic developments.

He acknowledges there has been inconvenience, especially owing to road schemes: The number and scale of these schemes that we have been delivering over the last 24 months or so has proven to be extremely challenging. Both the timing of development and available external funding have driven the programme of works.

Inevitably, these strategic works have brought with them a degree of disruption to road users, but will ensure that the highway network is resilient in accommodating the anticipated additional usage, he said.

He said: I am pleased to report that a number of these strategic schemes have now reached practical completion.

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