Robert's Weekly Column - 5th August 2020

Our NHS has been our front line over the past few months, so it is really great news for our town that building work has now begun on the Radiotherapy Unit on the Great Western Hospital site.

Many people in our community have worked so hard to achieve this and I am proud to have played my part by lobbying the Health Secretary and the Treasury to ensure the multi-million-pound loan from the government was given the green light.

As building work has now commenced, a special thank you must go out again to the hospital charity, Brighter Futures, who hit their incredible £2.9 million fundraising target. This money will be used to help kit-out the new unit with two state-of-the-art radiotherapy machines which use radio waves to kill cancerous cells in the body.

The independent Swindon Town Deal Board, which I sit on, was brought together in response to our town being successfully shortlisted to bit for up to £25 million of government ‘Towns Fund’ money.

As part of the ‘Towns Fund’, the government has asked for local funding proposals which will help drive long-term economic and productivity growth through town centre regeneration. The Swindon Town Deal Board will be submitting seven projects, including:

Health Hydro Refurbishments: embedding community and leisure uses in the heart of the Railway Village.

Create Studios at the Carriage Works: fitting out the new space to support Swindon’s digital economy and upskilling our residents.

Brunel Centre Market: introducing new town centre uses, complementing the High Street and bringing a new experience.

David Murray John regeneration: investing in Swindon’s most recognisable landmark building to make it fit for the future and provide high quality affordable homes in the heart of the town centre close to services and public transport.

Kimmerfields Enabling Infrastructure: delivering enabling infrastructure to make land ready for new homes and offices on the next phase of Kimmerfields, adjacent to Zurich’s new flagship building.

More information can be found via: https://www.swindon.gov.uk/news/article/489/next_milestone_reached_for_25m_investment_plan

I have been talking regularly to the head of public health here in Swindon over the last few days and thankfully there does not seem to be the basis to suspect that we are facing a community-based outbreak of coronavirus of the type that we have seen in some other towns and cities.

The outbreak at XPO Logistics in Swindon is a significant matter and it is vital that all of us do our part to remain vigilant and follow the guidelines on social distancing.

If you have a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to your sense of smell of taste, please make sure you book yourself a coronavirus test. This can be done via: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

Earlier this year it was announced that Swindon College was successful in their £21 million bid for the government-backed Institute of Technology, which is a project that both Justin Tomlinson and I have championed. This week they have published proposals which will redevelop the existing campus buildings and incorporate agile learning environments including state of the art open plan engineering workshops, cyber suites and science labs.

The IoT will build upon the strong engineering and technical heritage of Swindon and forms part of the government’s plans to create a globally competitive technical education system.

More information on this exciting project can be found on Swindon College’s website.