Original article here:
THE council ward of St Margaret and South Marston is one with two distinct parts – both likely to be affected by a single key issue in the coming years.
St Margaret is located on the east side of the main urban area; the village of South Marston sits separate from Swindon.
However, each of them could soon be affected if the Local Plan, which is currently going through its public hearing, is given approval. The construction of the Eastern Villages, development around South Marston and a new district centre will all have an impact. It is therefore important that any councillor elected to ward does the best they can to limit any negatives while promoting the positives.
Already an issue within St Margaret is traffic, and the road network which is struggling to cope with congestion, something only likely to get worse as more homes and businesses are built.
If the councillor can work with the parish council then a positive outcome can be gained.
John Foley, chairman of the Stratton Parish Council, which is not party political, said: “The ideal Swindon Council candidate would be someone who will work with the parish council and will get things done. The roads and the traffic are some of the most important things to be addressed in Stratton.
“The ideal candidate doesn’t necessarily have to live in Stratton but they need to have an affinity with it. They also need to be visible in the community and be accessible. They have to be honest and transparent as well, just like all borough councillors. But I do think the most important thing is that they work with the parish council and support them. Within Lower Stratton we would want somebody who worked with us.”
Close to South Marston, a village set to rapidly expand in size, applications for development have already started to arrive. One such is an application for several large-scale warehouse projects on the A420 which could lead to 2,000 jobs. While there are obvious benefits to such projects, there will also be costs which must be managed correctly. In 2012, when all three seats were up for election, the Conservatives picked up all three seats, although the margins were very tight, with two Labour candidates less than 100 behind the winning councillor with the lowest number of votes.