You could be forgiven for thinking that the government’s representative in South Swindon, Ms Snelgrove, visits her constituency too rarely to have even a basic grasp of its geography. The Department of Communities and Local Government has announced — as part of the government’s splurging of our money to try and fix the financial crisis it helped create — that it is providing £2.09M for the “Wichelstowe Pedestrian & Cycle Bridge, Swindon”. That’s a bridge between West Swindon and what will, at some point, be West Wichel. Ms Snelgrove’s response to that announcement is a little confused, to say the least.
The Government has recognised how vital a bridge over the railway is to Swindon’s regeneration. I’m pleased the town’s MPs, working with the council, have managed to secure this funding. It also supports the notion of a university in the centre of Swindon.
Is Ms Snelgrove thinking of tackling both obesity and the collapse in the housing market by housing students in otherwise unsellable new houses in Wichelstowe and forcing them to walk via a roundabout route to a university at North Star? Or is she just confused, thinking of the plans within Swindon Borough Council’s Central Area Action Plan for a footbridge over the railway between the town centre and North Star? That would support the siting of a university (or indeed anything) at North Star, close to Swindon’s centre. A bridge between West Swindon and West Wichel clearly — unless you’re a geographically inept MP — does no such thing.
Even if one is charitable and surmises that Ms Snelgrove was responding off the cuff to a vague question from a journalist about a footbridge over the railway, a question that wasn’t specific about where that bridge was, one thing is indisputable. If Ms Snelgrove doesn’t know which bridge it is that she’s talking about, contrary to her claim she can’t have had any part in securing its funding.