News from Ridgeway Ward








Swindon Borough Council submits funding bids to improve rural and suburban bus services


Villages in rural parts of Swindon could benefit from new flexible bus services, if Swindon Borough Council is successful with two government funding bids.


The Council has made two separate bids of £1.05m each to the Department for Transport’s Rural Mobility Fund to improve transport provision in rural and suburban parts of the Borough giving people access to key amenities in the Swindon area.

The new services would also reduce people’s dependence on their cars, reducing the number of vehicles on local roads and improving air quality.

The funding bids would allow the Council to set up an entirely new demand responsive transport service or create a feed-in service to an existing bus route.

Demand response transport services are a flexible form of public transport, which focus on passenger needs rather than a fixed route or timetable. Vehicles used to provide the service can include a bus, minibus or a form of taxi.

In the north of the Borough the service would benefit the villages of Castle Eaton, Hannington and Inglesham, while Chiseldon, Liddington and Wanborough would be connected in the south.

At present, there are few frequent, reliable registered local bus services that rural residents can rely on in order to attend work, hospital appointments, social and leisure activities.

By delivering these new transport links from the rural north of Swindon, the Council would make it easier for people to get to the Orbital Retail Park, Great Western Hospital, Swindon Railway Station and the Town Centre. Links would also be made with Stratton and Gablecross in the east and the Blagrove and Windmill Hill industrial estates in the west.

Similar transport links would be established for Chiseldon, Liddington and Wanborough in the south of the Borough. This includes Bishopstone and Hinton Parva.

If the Council is successful in the initial round of the process, it will be invited to develop its proposals with the Department for Transport.

Councillor Maureen Penny, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Maintenance and Waste Services, said: “If we are serious about improving air quality and the environment it is absolutely crucial that we do as much as we possibly can to encourage people out of their cars and onto public transport.

“This government funding pot fits in perfectly with our climate change agenda and is why we have submitted two bids in order to improve the provision of public transport for our rural and suburban communities.

“Our plans to create a new bus interchange and cycle facilities at the Fleming Way Bus Boulevard are examples of our commitment to promoting sustainable travel, not to mention the considerable investment we have made in our cycle network.

“We will be keeping our fingers crossed our bids make it through to the next round of the funding process.”

Councillor Gary Sumner, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Infrastructure, Transport and Planning, said: “These types of flexible bus services are needed if we want to encourage a renaissance in bus use from those people who live in our rural communities.

“If we are successful with our funding applications it will provide a real boost to many of our rural communities helping to alleviate traffic levels on some of the key routes into Swindon.”



Work at White Hart junction moves up a gear!


Work to improve White Hart junction will step up a notch from Monday (22 June) as the next stage of work begins.

Published: Thursday, 18th June 2020


The roundabout will be reduced to a single lane between 7.30am and 6pm on weekdays from Monday (22 June) for seven weeks to allow Osborne, the contractor carrying out the scheme, to get on site and complete the next stage of the work.


This will include the installation of ducting and drainage systems to facilitate the £30m scheme.


Work will also need to take place on the A419 slip-road southbound towards the end of the seven-week period at night to ensure this aspect of the work can be undertaken safely. Doing this work at night and while the level of traffic on the roads is currently low also means this will cause minimal disruption to motorists.


Despite the coronavirus lockdown, preparatory work has been continuing with the team adhering to social distancing guidelines.


White Hart junction is being upgraded as part of the New Eastern Villages (NEV) development project. This development will see approximately 8,000 new homes built to the east of the A419 along with new schools, employment spaces and community and leisure facilities.


Key cycling and pedestrian routes will also be incorporated into the development as well as sufficient green spaces, including a nature reserve, playing fields and allotments.


To allow the development to progress, £72.5m is being invested to make sure the nearby roads and junctions can facilitate the extra traffic this development will generate. White Hart is one of the junctions being upgraded, along with Gablecross junction, Piccadilly roundabout and a section of Oxford Road near the Nythe Road junction.


A new road, known as the Southern Connector Road, will also form a link between the NEV and Commonhead roundabout, near the Great Western Hospital.

The upgrades to Greenbridge roundabout, which have already been undertaken, are also part of the investment in the road network in the east of the town in preparation for the housing developments.


Councillor Gary Sumner, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Infrastructure, Transport & Planning, said: “Work to carry out these vital upgrades have been quietly going on, despite the coronavirus pandemic, but motorists will begin to see more activity on the road over the next couple of months.


“A key feature of these improvements is that we are doing them now before the 8,000 homes are built so we create additional capacity to cope with the extra traffic on our roads.


“We also had the great news last week of a £400m investment at nearby Symmetry Park, which will create 2,000 jobs, further emphasising the need to enhance our road network.”



A new, flexible form of public transport that focuses on passenger need rather than routes and timetables could connect residents in rural parts of the borough.

We've submitted two bids worth £1.05m each, to the Government, to improve public transport links for residents in villages like Castle Eaton, Hannington, Inglesham, Chiseldon, Liddington and Wanborough. At the moment, they have few frequent, reliable registered local bus services they can depend on in order to get to work, attend hospital appointments or for social and leisure activities.

The new services would connect the rural villages to places like the Orbital Retail Park, Great Western Hospital, Swindon Railway Station and the Town Centre. Vehicles used to provide this new service could be a bus, minibus or taxi.

We will be invited to develop more detailed plans with the Department for Transport if our initial bid is successful.

The new service would also help to reduce the number of vehicles on local roads and improve air quality.



Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Service updates, health advice, and other things you should know:

Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Here for Swindon - Our measures to support residents and businesses during the outbreak:


Coronavirus (COVID-19)


How our most vulnerable residents can get essential food, household supplies and prescriptions:

We planted 4000 trees at 'Manners Wood', Pack Hill, Wanborough in the AONB in February 2019


Together with the Woodland Trust, staff from Nationwide Building Society and the Landscape team at Swindon Borough Council we planted 4000 trees in land aquired by SBC alongside an existing woodland scheme in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Pack Hill, Wanborough.


Staff and pupils from Years 3&4 at Wanborough Primary were able to join us and Nationwide were good enough to lay on the coach to get them there and back safely! They were incredibly enthusiastic planters and trees were planted so quickly that more had to be brought to site! They will watch this special new woodland grow and know they helped create it in 2019.


I have arranged that there will be an opportunity for the pupils and other residents who wish to be involved to do a further planting here in November and I will update you about specific dates nearer the time.


Ridgeway Ward residents let me know if you have any questions:


Gary Sumner – your Ridgeway Ward Councillor






As the proposed 'Science Park' immediately adjoins the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty I thought I would share a useful extract from: 



(Development Affecting the Setting of the North Wessex Downs AONB)


1. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are designated by the Government for the purpose of ensuring that the special qualities of our finest landscapes are conserved and enhanced. In planning policy terms they have the same status as National Parks.


2. The primary purpose of the North Wessex Downs AONB is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the AONB. The AONB also has secondary purposes to increase awareness and understanding of the special qualities of the AONB, to take account of the needs of agriculture, forestry and other rural industries and to foster the social and economic well being of local communities and those who live and work in the area.


3. The setting of the North Wessex Downs AONB can be explained as being the surroundings outside the AONB and although outside its boundary its extent is not fixed and may change over time. Elements of a setting may make a positive or negative contribution to the AONB, it may affect the ability to appreciate that significance or may be neutral. For the purposes of spatial planning, any development or change capable of affecting the significance of the AONB or people’s experience of it can be considered as falling within its setting.


4. The surroundings of the North Wessex Downs AONB are also important to its landscape character and quality. Views out of the AONB and views towards or into it from surrounding areas can be very significant. Development proposals that affect views into and out of the AONB need to be carefully assessed to ensure that they conserve and enhance the natural beauty and landscape character of the AONB.




Cllr Gary Sumner

Ridgeway Ward



Tel: 01793 790814


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