6th April 2018

Meeting with Baroness Scott sets solid foundation

Councillors Dom Newton and Simon McNeill Ritchie were very pleased to meet with Leader of Wiltshire Council, Baroness Jane Scott, and Councillor Bridget Weyman yesterday morning, in what they have described as a ‘reset’ meeting on the relationship between the Town Council and Wiltshire Council. 

Primarily focused on the need to address air quality problems in the town centre, the meeting was productive, and provided clear grounds for cooperation and collaboration both in this area, and in terms of the wider regional concerns and the need to address the very specific issues of Masons Lane.

Discussion also ranged across a number of other matters, with positive statements on areas including transfer of play areas to Town control and developments around the Station area, to a need to work closely on issues such as planning policy development in the Town.

Left to Right – Cllr Simon McNeill-Ritchie, Baroness Jane Scott, Cllr Dom Newton, Cllr Bridget Weyman (Photo Lydia Booth)

Leader of the Council, Dom Newton, said:

“It was a hugely useful meeting – there is little better than a face-to-face meeting to understand other’s positions.  In some respects we heard what we expected to; that Wiltshire have been jaded by past experiences with the town, and are understandably cagey in committing further resources at this stage. 

I think through the course of the meeting it became clear to them that as a new Town Council, and working with colleagues in Wilts and across the various community groups involved, we are in a strong position with a mandate to finally make some real progress on improving both the health and well-being of residents, and the economic viability of the town. 

We fully expect to now move forward with more focused and detailed meetings with key stakeholders, commencing in the next two months with presentation of new analysis of traffic-flow data, which we can then use with Wiltshire to identify a blend of solutions”.

Both Simon McNeill Ritchie and Dom Newton expressed thanks that Baroness Scott made time to meet with them and said that Town Councillors are looking forward to working closely with her and her team in the near future.