Ambitious plans to rejuvenate Swindon town centre have been unveiled by Forward Swindon.
The organisation, which is charged with delivering Swindon Borough Council’s Town Centre Masterplan, has published its vision for key town centre projects, including Kimmerfields, the Railway Village, Aspen House and the Station Approach area.
Initial efforts on the Carriage Works and Swindon’s railway heritage.
Builders are expected to move into the Carriage Works by May after planning permission was granted for the first part of a three-phase plan to convert 9,845 sq ft of space into a workspace that will be shared by Forward Swindon and local businesses.
Phase 2 will include the conversion of the remaining 47,000 sq ft of the West Shed to create flexible spaces for small and large businesses.
It will be multi-use space designed to attract a mix of business – digital arts, learning, artist studios and creative industries. A yard space between the East and West buildings for outdoor events and a café will be created.
In Phase 3, the East Shed will provide 58,556 sq ft of workspace for a similar mix of businesses, tech companies, start-ups and SMEs needing affordable, flexible space in easy reach of the station, London and Bristol.
And as part of Phase 4, plans are being finalised for the upgrading of the GWR Bristol Street Tunnel, the main north-south pedestrian link between the town centre and the Outlook retail centre and Steam. A bid for funding has been submitted.
Forward Swindon has also submitted a detailed planning application for the Council-funded sympathetic restoration of two heritage buildings on the corner of Faringdon Road and Catherine Street.
The organisation says the transformation of 1-3 Faringdon Road will help create a sense of arrival to the Railway Heritage Quarter and demonstrate the Council’s commitment to improving the town centre environment.
It will also create 7,500 sq ft of refurbished space, including apartments and two retail units that will boost activity on Faringdon Road.