2nd August – Localism, what could it mean for Swindon?
Cllr Dale Heenan," Localism is one of the buzz words that seems to be increasingly popular for politicians to use these days. For me the idea starts with decision making being be delegated to local communities and small groups of Councillors who know their neighbourhoods best.
This is a concept I have pushed for many years as a local Councillors, and as a Cabinet Member on Swindon Borough Council I hope to progress with in a new approach called OneSwindon. This is an area of work that I am directly responsible for within Cabinet and have a keen interest in.
Over the next couple of months you will be hearing more about OneSwindon, and for the Council it is centred around four priorities and a "Contract for Swindon". The Contract will replace the 50 Promises which the Council agreed in 2006. By the end of this year 48 of the promises will have been completed so we need to look at what comes next.
The four OneSwindon priorities are:
- Regeneration, employment, skills and managed growth
- Cleaner, Safer Streets and protection of green open space
- Sports, Leisure and Cultural Opportunities
- Providing a Safety net for the vulnerable
I believe atleast two of these priorities should involve a large degree of decision making being delegated to our local Councillors, and involvement from residents.
As a local Councillor, I have seen first hand how difficult it can be to see action on what should be relatively simple tasks like footpath repairs and road resurfacing. Yes, there is a limited pot of money available but local Councillors and residents should be able to prioritize what work happens locally in our areas.
Over the next couple of years I would love to see the following areas of the Council delegated to the Cluster areas in Swindon. I am one of fifty-nine Councillors, but I will be trying hard!
- Advise on priorities of minor road schemes, Road Safety, Traffic Calming and Footpath Maintenance
- Recommend future action on Highways issues and and spending
- Consider the impact of Major Planning Applications
- Monitor all Council and Partner services. like the Police, delivered in their area
- Explore opportunities to develop and retain our Community Library service
- Encourage Community use and management of buildings and Leisure Centres
- Manage a delegated StreetScene budget eg grass cutting, street cleaning, litter picking and graffiti removal