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East Swindon | August 17, 2017

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Chairman of new committee wants the public to have their say

Chairman of new committee wants the public to have their say
Dale Heenan
  • On July 4, 2017
  • https://www.eastswindon.com

A NEW council body wants to hear what the residents of the town think about the key issues impacting their lives.

Every year, 46 councillors are assigned to various committees to hold cabinet members and council officers to account for everything that the council does in Swindon.

These committees are in the process of setting their work programmes for the 2017/18 civic year, but so far none have sought the views of the public.

The Community And Place Committee is due to approve its plans when it meets for the first time on Thursday evening.

The councillor in charge wants to set in motion a process by which the residents of Swindon can feed in to the committee’s work in a more meaningful way.

Community And Place is a new body which has been formed to provide oversight of all council services from recycling and waste to street lighting, parks, playgrounds, libraries, roads and public transport.

Its newly appointed chairman, Coun Dale Heenan (Con – Covingham and Dorcan), is throwing open the door of the council to try to get residents involved and is asking anyone interested to send in their views about what the Community And Place Committee should debate over the next 12 months.

He said: “Councillors often get elected because they want to make a difference in their communities but being a councillor is more than just doing casework.

“Committees are a big part of the role and to be actively involved means participating in them.

“If anyone has seen a Select Committee in Parliament grilling people on TV, then this is very similar to what happens in council committees.

“As the new chairman of the Community And Place Committee, I’d like to see what local residents would like us to debate and look into.

“I have my own thoughts on an agenda for the year, my committee members will too, but we don’t know everything.

“A little known fact is that just one person sent in their views about the council’s budget in February. That is abysmal when £135m is at sake.

If you had an opportunity to ask any question you like of Swindon Borough Council to do with recycling and waste, street lighting, parks, playgrounds, libraries, roads and public transport or anything else that comes under Community And Place, what would it be?

“What would you like to see changed or improved?

“I will ensure questions are asked, topics are debated and those in charge are held to account.”

All topics or questions should be emailed to the committee chairman at dale.heenan@gmail.com or to the committee clerk at sbanks@swindon.gov.uk by 12pm on June 28.