Robert’s Weekly Article – 9th Feb 2018

Housebuilding in Swindon received a further welcome boost last week, as it was announced that the Government has awarded our town £11.5m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to speed up building in two major development areas.

The New Eastern Villages (NEV) is set to receive a £5m boost, which will be used to build a new link under the Great Western Railway line and provide a direct route into the proposed Rowborough development from the A420.

Rowborough forms part of the New Eastern Villages, which will consist of around 2,380 homes built on a site to the north of the A420. The link will provide essential access to the site. An additional £6.5m has been awarded to the Kingsdown Bridge project. This is a bridge development, which will allow a further 1,650 houses to be built.

As mentioned in my column last week, I am extremely supportive of more housebuilding in Swindon in accordance with our Local Plan and I am pleased that the government has awarded £11.5m directly to Swindon from the Housing Infrastructure Fund.

I was delighted to see Elaine Pickford, Mother of Sian O’Callaghan, at the recent ‘steering towards safety’ campaign hosted by my colleague, North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson and launched by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. The aim of the event was to publicise their campaign for the introduction of national minimum standards on safety checks for operators of taxis and private hire licencing across England and Wales. The campaign is an important initiative, which enjoys support from taxi and hire operators who want to see the highest standards when it comes to safety.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Holy Family Primary School last week. Highlights included a guided tour of the school accompanied by the Headteacher, pupils and a member of the governing body, listening to two excellent stories written by pupils and taking part in an excellent question and answer session with pupils about my role in Parliament as an MP.

If you are thinking about ways of making a voluntary contribution to your local community, or want to play an active part in the education of children in Swindon, becoming a school governor is an excellent way to do this. School governors provide a vital link between the school and the community it serves. You do not need to have a child in school and specialist knowledge or experience is not required. School governors provide a vital link between the school and the community it serves. By working with Headteachers and staff, they help to shape the future direction of our schools and academies with the aim of helping all children achieve their full potential. You can find out more by visiting

Finally, I am very excited to have been invited to watch a showing of the film, Silent Child, staring profoundly deaf Swindon child, Maisey Sly. You may have read the exciting news in the Adver recently that 6-year-old Maisey is going to the Oscars as the film has been nominated for the short film award. The film is phenomenal for deaf awareness and highlighting the issues deaf children face, particularly when born to a family that has hearing. Following the showing at the Arts Centre, Maisey’s father will be hosting a question and answer session. I am delighted to support this event and help raise awareness of deaf issues in Swindon. For further details and tickets please visit can also follow the Silent Child film on Facebook