It seems that far from being a fresh start for Swindon’s economic and physical regeneration, Forward Swindon, the reincarnation of the New Swindon Company, is, as I’ve noted before, repackaging failure. And it goes right to the top of the organisation. Mr James, erstwhile chief executive of The New Swindon Company, cut-and-ran when the going got tough. It was rather a habit for him. In as much as she is, for the moment, considerably more circumspect in her comments, the new chief executive of Forward Swindon, Karen Walker, is an improvement. But like her predecessor, her record for seeing the job through to its end is not good. Indeed, so successful was the last regeneration company that she led, in Sandwell, that all three of its public-sector backers pulled the plug on its funding last year.
Given the current state of Swindon Borough Council’s finances, Ms Walker might find a greater sense of ‘continuity’ between her old and new jobs than she was expecting.