Wiltshire

Swindon £270m leisure scheme delay amid Brexit 'uncertainty'

Ski Centre Image copyright Seven Capital
Image caption The 500,000 sq ft development will include a ski centre, cinema and hotel

Funding problems have delayed a new leisure scheme in Swindon, with Brexit being blamed for creating "uncertainty" as the project moves forward.

The £270m North Star site will feature a ski centre, the largest IMAX screen in the UK, and new leisure units.

Developer Seven Capital says funding problems which have delayed the project by six months are due to a "challenging" investment climate.

The firm said work is now expected to begin in late autumn or early winter.

The development, which is now planned to open in 2022, has stalled several times.

The project was approved by Swindon Borough Council in November, despite concerns from local residents about traffic congestion.

Conservative Councillor Dale Heenan, Cabinet member for the town centre and regeneration, said: "We cannot underestimate the uncertainty caused by the delay in leaving the European Union and the effect this has had on business.

"This is why I am delighted that Seven Capital has reaffirmed its commitment to build the North Star Village leisure complex and that construction will start this year.

"I will do everything possible to support this project and see people skiing down the slope in 2022."

Image copyright Seven Capital
Image caption The plans include 900 parking places

A Seven Capital spokeswoman acknowledged Brexit had created "uncertainty across many industries", but said the project is "making good progress".

"We have recently agreed terms on further financing of the wider project," they added.

"We are now anticipating the last quarter of this year to be on site to begin the construction phase and are working with our partners and Swindon Borough Council on pushing forward as quickly as possible."

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