SME Group Planning Meeting

Initiated in April 2009 by Simon Olive, the South Marston SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) Group meets regularly to chat about work issues, share ideas and generally feel that they are not alone in the big world of business.

Sarah Watch hosted our first event of 2010 on the 1st March. We used the opportunity to plan a regular monthly meeting – and to eat chocolate fondue – yum! (I think I did a great job of convincing my hips that the copious quantities of fruit meant that it was actually quite healthy)

Our agreed diary of events is now on the South Marston village website here and on the central calender here.

SME 2010 Diary Dates

We meet at 19:30-21:00 on the 1st Thursday of every month

Date Location Topic
1st April 1 Byron Court “How do you talk about your business?”
Elevator Pitch Inspiration and Mini-Workshop
Led by Carolyn Page of Colporteur
6th May Carriers Arms The E-myth by Michael Gerber
Led by Hannah Jones of BlueKiteCoach
3rd June 13 Rawlings Close “Book Club”
Bring along a favourite business related book and be prepared to leave with a longer ‘must read’ list
Led by TBC

Process Review
– Time Management
– Visio demo
Led by Georgina Kirby of The Village Apartments

1st July 10 Rawlings Close “Risk”
How an IFA (Independent Financial Advisor) assesses a client’s attitude to risk
We might also be delighted by the inner workings of a pension, credit ratings and/or ISA choices.

Led by Sarah Watch of EFP

August No Meeting
2nd September South Marston Hotel
(in the lobby on the comfy sofas)
“Mandy the Completer”
How Mandy does what many of us struggle to do
Led by Mandy Larcombe
7th October South Marston Hotel
(in the lobby on the comfy sofas)
Process Review
– Time Management
– Visio demo
Led by Georgina Kirby of The Village Apartments
4th November 4 Church Farm Lane “Saying no”
Time management tricks and tips
Led by TBC
3rd December TBC Christmas Bash
Meal Out together

Wildlife Site Volunteers

The first volunteer day held on the 30th January to start the clearance work on the site was a great success. Thanks to all who helped. The next stage is to complete the ground clearance work and this is scheduled to take place on

Saturday 20th March at 10.30 am

The group will be guided and supervised by an officer from Wilshire Wildlife Trust.

The completion of this work will give us a blank canvas for a community group to work on. We hope that a community group can be established to take the Wildlife Site Project forward in design and maintenance as an ongoing scheme.

A proposal we want to air with the volunteers is to have a competition for the layout design of the site. This can be a design by an individual or a group from within South Marston. The design proposals will be judged by external panel of experienced wildlife/conservationists.

If you are interested in working with the existing volunteers or joining the community group in this new project contact:

Brian McGlone 826243 Mobile 07752332677

Neil Burchell      827009 Mobile 07811146633

South Marston Parish Council

Conservative Party Proposals for a Reformed Planning System

The Tories have put out their Planning Green Paper.  I thought you’d be interested in what they are saying about transition arrangements which they plan to take effect between abolition of regional planning targets (as early as possible in their term of office) and implementation of their ‘Open Source’ Planning system which allows local planning authorities the freedom to decide on their own local plans:

While we are confident that the combination of collaborative democracy and our council tax, business rates and local tariff incentives will be sufficiently persuasive to encourage local authorities to embrace development, we will also legislate to ensure that the production of new local plans will be achieved within a reasonable timescale.

Specifically, we will legislate that if new local plans have not been completed within a prescribed period, then the presumption in favour of sustainable development will automatically apply. In other words, if a local planning authority does not get its local plan finalised in reasonable time, it will be deemed to have an entirely permissive planning approach, so all planning applications will be accepted automatically if they conform with national planning guidance. We will also put in place transitional arrangements to cover the implementation of our new planning system.

On the question of projected housing numbers, local planning authorities have already projected the number of houses they (as opposed to the regional authorities) believed would be necessary by 2026 for local needs – the so-called Option1 numbers – and where they might most sustainably be developed.

Unfortunately the present Government refused to believe that local authorities were capable of accurately gauging future local housing demand and, in many cases, interposed to impose significantly higher housing targets. We believe that the original, locally generated estimates are a reasonable assessment of housing need, including affordable housing. We therefore expect that these Option 1 numbers will be used by local authorities as the base-line for the projections that they provide to neighbourhoods at the start of the collaborative planning process, and will be used as provisional housing numbers in their Local  Development Frameworks until their new local plans are completed.

If I read all of this correctly, it means that the developers have free rein if Swindon’s local plan is not completed in ‘reasonable time’.  Furthermore, the original figures agreed by Swindon for the period to 2026 (which I believe are 5,000 or so short of what was eventually imposed on them by the region) will stand as the projections on which they must build their local plan.

NB. The Tory collaborative democracy model for bottom-up planning is absolutely in line with what South Marston is doing, but at the moment, it does not mean local people can veto decisions that will make it impossible for the local planning authority to deliver the target numbers that they, themselves, have determined are necessary.  See above (my underlining)

Sylvia Brown

Letter from Head of Planning to Michael Wills MP dated 01.03.2010 about the EDA

The letter below was received by Michael Wills MP from Richard Bell, Swindon Borough Council Head of Planning. It responds to questions regarding the timetable that the council is working to with regards to the EDA consultation and development process as a whole.

Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour training

A free training event is available for local residents, community activists, volunteers, front-line staff and anyone else involved in dealing with and/or tackling anti-social behaviour.
Have you ever felt powerless to do anything about graffiti, vandalism or noisy neighbours?
Do you want to know more about who you can contact to deal with problems like these and the powers available to help?

This free event will offer practical advice to attendees on what can be done and how you can work together to tackle neighbourhood anti-social behaviour issues. It will pass on lessons from those who have succeeded in bringing about change through the power of collective action.

Date: Friday 26th February 2010

Time: 09:15 -> 15:30

Where: De Vere Shaw Ridge, Shaw Ridge Leisure Park, Whitehall Way, Swindon, SN5 7DW

To book your place:

Call: 0845 680 9754

or visit:

For more details read the Original PDF advert.