Wiltshire

Swindon town centre to be made 'fit for the future'

Artist's impression of how the town centre of Swindon could be changed Image copyright Swindon Borough Council
Image caption An artist's impression of how Swindon town centre could be transformed

Swindon town centre could be transformed under plans to make it "fit for the future".

New housing, offices and retail space has been proposed by Swindon Borough Council for the Kimmerfields site.

The next phase of the development will be the bus boulevard on Fleming Way and cultural quarter at the Wyvern Theatre site.

Dale Heenan, from the council, said the town centre had "stood still" while the way people lived and shopped changed.

"A conscious decision was taken 50 years ago to move it to where it is now from Old Town," he said.

"But the way people shop, the way we live has changed and we need to make the town centre fit for the future."

Work to build the new headquarters for insurance firm Zurich on the Kimmerfields site is due to begin this summer, with the company moving in by 2022.

Swindon Borough Council will buy the building and lease it back to Zurich.

'Open the town'

The existing Wyvern Theatre building will be knocked down to create a bigger theatre on the site, which will also be home to the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.

The council plans to sell its Euclid Street buildings to pay for the project.

The bus boulevard public transport development is considered key to the town's regeneration.

Mr Heenan said: "At the moment Fleming Way is a dual carriageway and is a real barrier between the town centre retail area and the Kimmerfields development.

"This will clear that barrier and open the town, and blur the distinction between the business district and the town centre shopping area."

He added a longer-term aim was to regenerate and improve Bridge Street and Regent Street.

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