Wiltshire

Swindon's Locarno buildings redevelopment turned down

Image of developer's plan for the Locarno
The Victorian building was to be converted to flats and restaurants

Plans to redevelop Swindon's historic Locarno buildings have been turned down.

The proposals for the site in Old Town included a 117-bed hotel, 72 flats, a restaurant and a cafe.

The Grade II-listed Locarno and former town hall buildings have been derelict for a number of years and have had two arson attacks.

It is not yet known whether the developers Bach Homes (Locarno) Ltd will appeal against the decision.

'Unacceptable impact'

A meeting of the town's planning committee on Tuesday evening was told officers recommended that permission be refused.

Officers said the "bulk, scale, massing, and design or appearance" would result in an "adverse and unacceptable impact" on the listed buildings.

The site had previously been used as town hall, a butter/corn market, a ballroom and a bingo hall.

It fell into disrepair in the 1980s and has been targeted twice by arsonists. Much of the interior fabric and the roof space was destroyed.

Planning permission for flats on the site was given by the borough council in February 2008.

That redevelopment was put on hold when Bach Homes went into administration in March 2009.

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